One of the kids asked me as I was driving her along today, what exactly was the age that she could head out into the work force and get a job. Although I appreciate her willingness to work, and could use the extra money, I wondered if at 11 years of age she might be out of luck!
A little investigating turned up that it varies a little between countries, however over 160 countries around the world subscribe to the Convention Concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment.
This convention stipulates that a country can set its own minimum working age, however there is a minimum of 15 years of age. There are some exceptions though for example in some cases, as long as the work does not interfere with school work or jeopardise health, then ages as low as 13-15 can be employed.
We look at minimum age laws around the world:
United States of America
In the United States the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) sets the minimum age for employment. In most cases, 14 years old is the minimum age. Additionally, there are limits to the hours worked by those under the age of 16.
Different states have different legislations.
Tasmina, New South Wales, South Australia and Northern Territories
For these states, the minimum age for employement is 14 years. This is for part time and casual employees that are working outside of school hours.
The Child Employment Act 2003 dictates that the minimum age of employment is 15 years.
Queensland has its own act, the Child Employment Act 2006. This Act allows children under 16 (and that have not yet completed year 10) to commence work for a maximum of 12 hours in a school week with parental consent. They cannot work between the hours of 10pm and 6am. In the school holidays kids can work up to 38 hours a week. The ACT helps ensure that energetic youngsters still have time to do their school work.
WA has the Children and Community Services Act 2004. Additionally, there is also the School Education Act 1999.
Employees under 15 years of age require parental consent to work. The work must be outside of school hours and they cannot work between the hours of 10pm and 6am.
There is compulsory school attendance at school for all children up until they turn 17. Employees under this age may not work during school hours.
The youngest a child can work part time is 13 years of age, exceptions to this include work along the lines of
Children wanting to work in these special areas need to get a special performance licence.
Having no official minimum working age, NZ is not as strict as some countries. What they do have, however, are some important rules about
Hours that a person under sixteen can work
Types of work a minor can do
The operation of machinery
You can find out more about NZ laws here.
Along with a myriad of state rules and legislation, the Federal Government does allow children under the age of 17 to be employed, providing the work is not likely to endanger their safety (or health).
You can read more about Canadas laws here.
In closing, although our kids are not yet out in the work force, they are starting to appreciate the benefit from working odd jobs, ie babysitting, etc.. As a real job may be just around the corner, its nice to consider there are laws out there which exist for the welfare of the citizen/employee, of which everyone should be aware.