LA.3.a. Child labour and young workers

Does the company comply with minimum age standards?


Children are entitled to the basic right of an education, and must not be hired for full-time work before completing their compulsory education. The age for completion of education and the minimum age for entry into employment are both determined by the national government in the country of operation. Under International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards, the minimum age for entry into full-time employment should be no younger than 15, or 14 if the country is subject to an exception. Depending on the country of operation, children aged 13, or 12 if the country is subject to an exception, may perform light work as defined by the ILO Minimum Age Convention as work for a few hours per day, not interfering with the health or development of the child, and which does not interfere with the child's compulsory education. Workers below the age of 18 should not be engaged in hazardous work. The company should have in place credible procedures for validating the age of young workers. Working children of school age should be enrolled in education and their families compensated for the loss of income. When seeking to determine minimum age limits for the country of operation, companies should investigate whether national legislation is in compliance with ILO  Convention 138, and whether exceptions are in place for the country.

This question applies to workers directly engaged by the company (direct workers) and workers engaged through third parties to perform work related to core business processes for a substantial duration (contracted workers operating within company premises).

The question relates to the rights to education and work as well as just and favourable conditions of work. The question is based on general principles contained in the following: Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Articles 24 and 26; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), Article 7; Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), Article 32 (2); ILO Minimum Age Convention (C138, 1973), Article 3]. IFC Performance Standard 2: Labor and Working Conditions.



First answer the following indicators (step 1) and then the main question (step 2).

Step 1. Answer the following indicators:

The company does not employ workers under 15 years of age for full-time work, 13 years of age for light work and 18 years of age for hazardous work (please see the question description for exceptions).

If the company employs minors below the age of 18, the company has a list of job functions that can safely be performed by minors.

The company is aware of local age-levels for completion of compulsory education and does not employ workers under that age for work that may interfere with such education.

The company has a reliable procedure to check the age of young job candidates by birth certificate, other official forms of identification, or by alternative means such as physical appearance or knowledge of historic events.

Company apprenticeship programmes do not constitute the main portion of the workforce, are limited in duration, are performed in conjunction with a school programme (or supervised by Labour Ministers or Labour Organisations), and do not interfere with the child's compulsory education.

If the company becomes aware that it is employing young workers below minimum age, it ensures that they are enrolled in education programme, and that their dependents are compensated for the resulting loss of income.

Step 2. Answer the main question:

Does the company comply with minimum age standards?

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    3. Answer the indicators

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