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Employing young persons and children

Children must be at least 13 years old to work and are restricted in the type of work can do. These guidelines cover employment for those aged 13 to 16.

Eligibility to work

A child must be 13 years and above to be legally employed. However, those between 13 and 15 should only carry out light duties suited to their capacity in a non-industrial setting.

The type of work children and young persons can do is governed by Part VIII of the Employment Act and the Employment of Children and Young Persons Regulations.

Where they can work

Children and young persons are limited in the type of work they can do in industrial settings (e.g. construction, transportation and manufacturing) and non-industrial settings.

Age group Work in a non-industrial setting Work in an industrial setting
Children aged less than 13 years No. No.
Children aged 13 to less than 15 years Yes, for light duties only. No, unless working with family members.
Young persons aged 15 to less than 16 years Yes. Yes, but employers must notify MOM and submit a medical report (see below).

If you employ a young person to work in an industrial setting:

You need to When
Notify the Commissioner for Labour Within 30 days of starting work

Unsuitable work for those under 16

Some forms of work are unsuitable for those under 16. These include:

  • Where work conditions may cause injury.
  • Servicing or attending moving machinery.
  • Being near live electrical apparatus that is not effectively insulated.
  • Underground work.

Work doing manual labour

If you are employing children and young persons as workmen doing manual labour:

  • They cannot work at night, between 11pm and 6am the next day.
  • They cannot work on their rest days without permission from the Commissioner for Labour.
  • Children must not work:
    • More than 3 hours without a 30-minute break.
    • More than 6 hours in a day, including time at school.
  • Young persons must not work:
    • More than 4 hours without a 30-minute break.
    • More than 7 hours in a day, including time at school.