Minimum age requirements for workers help to abolish child labour.
Child labour is work that deprives children of their childhood and potential (by impeding their schooling) as well as being harmful to their physical and mental development. ILO Convention No.138 on Minimum Age requires countries to establish minimum age limits based on the type of work performed. In any case, the minimum age must not be younger than 15 years old, or 14 years for developing States in certain circumstances. The minimum age for work which is likely to jeopardize the health, safety or morals of young persons shall not be less than 18 years. Light work or work which will not interfere with schooling may be undertaken by children between 13 and 15 years of age.
Businesses should be aware that in some circumstances, children or their guardians may misrepresent a child’s age to gain employment due to financial or familial pressures. Businesses need to have appropriate procedures in place to ensure all employees meet the minimum age requirements applicable to the type of work the child will perform.
ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour aims to prohibit all forms of slavery of children, the use of children for commercial sex work, pornography or illicit activities, including drug trafficking, and work which is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.