Minors and Youth

Minimum Age for Employment

A person may not require or permit a child to work if the child is under 15 years of age or is under the minimum school leaving age in terms of any law. A person may also not require or permit a child to perform such work or services that are inappropriate for his/her age; that place at risk the child’s well-being, education, physical or mental health, or spiritual, moral or social development. A person who contravenes these provisions commits an offence and can be imprisoned for a period of three years along with a fine. Employment of children under 15 may be allowed in the performance of advertising, sports, artistic or cultural activities.

Source: § 43, 55 & 93 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 1997 (last amended in 2014)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

The Minimum Age for Hazardous Work is set at 18 years. No person may require or permit a child worker to perform piecework or task work. A child worker may not be employed for more than 8 hours in a day. A child who is not enrolled in school may not work for more than 40 hours in a week while a school-going child may not work more than 40 hours during school holidays and 20 hours during school term. A child may not be employed between 06 p.m. to 06 a.m.

Prohibited work includes deep sea fishing; commercial diving; animal slaughtering; meat processing; logging; work in a bar, shebeen, tavern or pub; rock and stone crushing; working in confined spaces among many others. Underground mining is considered the worst form of child labour. The following types of works are also prohibited for children under 18 years: work requiring respiratory protection equipment; work in an elevated position; lifting of heavy weights; and work in cold, hot and noisy environments.

Source: Regulations on Hazardous Work by Children in South Africa No. 32862

Regulations on Minors and Youth

  • Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (amended in 2002 & 2013)
  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996
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