Minors and Youth

Minimum Age for Employment

In accordance with the Constitution of India, no child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment. The minimum age for employment is 14 years. Employment of child under 14 years of age is strictly prohibited in any establishment. A violation of this rule can result in the imposition of fines and also imprisonment in certain States. 

Children are not allowed to work more than six hours a day (which include one hour of rest after 03 hours of work). Night work (between 07 pm and 08 am) and overtime work is prohibited for children.

According to the Constitution, it is obligatory for the state to provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.

The Child Labour (prohibition and regulation) Amendment Act 2012 has been passed by both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha in July 2016.

The amendments are as follows:

Employment of children below 14 years is prohibited in all occupations and processes and age of prohibition of employment is linked to age under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, i.e., 14 years. Employer of children under 14 years is prohibited in both hazardous and non-hazardous employments. The Act prohibits employment of children below 14 years in certain occupations such as automobile workshops, bidi-making, carpet weaving, handloom and power loom industry, mines and domestic work.

However a child (under 14 years) can help his family or family enterprises in a non-hazardous occupation/enterprise, after his school hours or during vacations. Similarly, a child working as an artist in an audio-visual entertainment industry, advertisement, films, television serials or any such other entertainment or sports activities, except the circus. In both cases, the law requires that this permission is subject to such conditions and safety measures, as may be prescribed and provided that such work does not affect the school education of the child.

A new definition of adolescent is incorporated in the Act and employment of adolescents (14-18 years of age) is now prohibited in hazardous occupations and processes (mines, inflammable substance, explosives, and hazardous processes). Stricter punishment for employers for violation has also been proposed to act as a deterrent. The offence of employing a child or adolescent in contravention of the amended Act by an employer has been made cognizable.

The amendment bill relaxes the penal provisions for parents or guardians, who were earlier subjected to the same punishment as the employer of the child. However, in case of parents being repeat offenders, they can be penalized with a monetary fine up to Rs 10,000. An employer who who employs a child or permits a child (under 14) to work is punishable with imprisonment for at least six months and fine ranging between 20,000 and 50,000 rupees or both. If an employer contravenes provisions with regard to adolescents working in hazardous occupations or processes, he may be punishable with imprisonment for a term ranging between 6 months and two years, fine ranging between 20,000 and 50,000 rupees or with both.

The amendment Act also provides for constitution of Child and Adolescent Labour Rehabilitation Fund for one or more districts for the rehabilitation of the child or adolescent rescued. Fund is to be financed with the amount of fine recovered.

Under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, the compulsory education age is 14 years.

Source: §21(A) & 24 of Indian Constitution 1949 last revised in 2012; §2-7 of the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act 1986; Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act 1986 Amendment Act, 2012, passed in 2016; §3 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

The minimum age for hazardous work has been raised to 18 years. The hazardous work is defined as mines, inflammable substance, explosives, and hazardous processes. The ‘Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act’ makes it illegal for children under 14 years of age to be employed in factories, including 16 ‘hazardous occupations’ and 65 ‘processes’. These hazardous occupations and processes include working in slaughter house, automobile workshops, foundries, handling of toxic substances, mines, dhabas, restaurants, tea shops, domestic service, beedi making, carpet weaving, building and construction industry, etc.

Night work (22:00 to 06:00) and overtime (more than four and a half hours) is prohibited for children.

Source: §3 of the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act 1986, last amended in 2016; §71 of the Factories Act 1948

Regulations on Minors and Youth

  • Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986
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