No child labour and the protection of young workers

  1. The Business shall not employ children, directly or indirectly, under the age of 15 and children under the age of 15 shall not be present at the workplace.
  2. Should young persons between the ages of 15 and 17 seek employment, the Business shall ensure that this does not interfere with their school-going activities and that special mechanisms are in place to prevent, identify and mitigate any workplace related harms to young workers.
  3. The Business shall ensure that young workers, under 18 years of age, are provided with work that is appropriate for their age. The Business shall take care to ensure that the work performed does not pose any risk to the well-being, education, physical or mental health and spiritual, moral or social development of the young worker.
  4. In cases where child labour is found to be present at the workplace, the Business shall take appropriate measures to remediate the situation so as to prioritise the best interest of the child.

South African Legislation

Constitution of the RSA, 1996:

  • Section 28 (1)(e) provides that every child has the right to be protected from exploitive labour practices.
  • Section 28(1)(f) provides that every child has the right not to be required or permitted to perform worker services that are age inappropriate or places at risk that child’s well-being, education, physical or mental health, spiritual, moral or social development.
  • Child means a person under the age of 18 years (section 28(3)).

Basic Conditions of Employment Act (75 of 1997), as amended:

  • Section 43(1) provides that no person may employ a child under the age of 15 years or who is under the minimum school-leaving age, if this is 15 or older.
  • Section 43(2) repeats section 28(1)(f) of the Constitution.
  • Section 44(2) provides that regulations may be made by the Minister prohibiting or placing conditions on the employment of a child who is at least 15 years of age and no longer required to attend school. Section 47 places the onus on the employer, if the employer alleges that it has complied with the age requirement.
  • BCEA and the Sectoral Determination 13: Farm Worker Sector:
  • Sub-clauses 1 and 2 of clause 25 of Part F: repeats the legislation and Paragraph 15 of the Guidelines provides that the employer must verify the age of the employee from the identity document or birth certificate.

South African Schools Acts (84 of 1996):

  • Section 31(1) provides that a learner must attend school until the last school day of the year in which he/she reaches the age of 15 or grade nine, whichever is first.

Children’s Act 38 of 2005 International Reference

International Reference

  • ILO Convention 182, Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999
  • ILO Convention C138 – Minimum Age Convention 1973 (No138)