The Employment Ordinance, Chapter 57 of the Laws of Hong Kong, allows employers to employ “children” as employees under certain conditions, but employers need to be regulated and restricted, and they must focus on their studies. What are their protections under the Employment of Children Regulations? This article will summarize the main points of the regulation and introduce the rights of child laborers based on the original text of the regulations.
Employ persons under the age of 18
According to the Employment Ordinance of the Labour Department, some “young” or “child” employees are protected by law and enjoy established employment rights, and their employers are also obliged to comply with the relevant regulations.
Employment of Children Regulations: Definition of a Child
According to the Employment of Children Regulations under the Employment Ordinance, all persons under the age of 15 are “children”. The regulations state that all children are prohibited from being employed in industrial work in order not to interfere with their studies, and there are more regulations and restrictions on employers of child employees of non-industrial establishments.
Children over the age of 13 generally require written consent from their parents before they can be employed in non-industrial establishments, and must present to prospective employers the proof that the child has completed the Secondary 3 course or a valid school attendance certificate, etc.
Working hours for child employees
If the child employee is 13 years of age but not 15 years old and has completed Secondary 3, the child must not:
• Employed before 7:00 am or after 7:00 pm;
• employed for more than 8 hours in a day;
• work continuously for more than 5 hours without a meal or rest period of not less than 1 hour; and
• Moving items heavier than 18 kg.
If the child employee is at least 13 years old but under 15 years old, but has not completed Secondary 3 education, in addition to the above provisions, the following additional restrictions apply:
• The parent must present the child’s valid school attendance certificate (issued by the school principal) to the prospective employer;
• The employer must not employ the child—
• During school hours;
• During the semester
• more than 2 hours on a school day, or
• more than 4 hours per day on other days;
• more than 8 hours per day during summer vacation; and
• The following occupations or places
• premises where alcoholic beverages are sold and served,
• Dispose of garbage in public places,
• handling or transporting dangerous goods,
• Operating dangerous machines involving cutting, grinding, rolling, flattening, crushing, etc.,
• In dance halls, pool rooms or gambling establishments,
• in places of public entertainment, other than non-profit performances,
• In the kitchens of establishments such as hotels, apartments, delis, cafés or restaurants,
• Clean windows outside three meters above the ground,
• in slaughterhouses or slaughterhouses,
• At a barber shop or massage parlour.
Exception: Apprenticeship Regulations / Employment of child entertainers
Although the above Ordinance regulates employers who employ children, it does not apply to children registered as apprentices under the Apprenticeship Ordinance. The Commissioner for Labour will also specifically approve the employment of children of any age as entertainers by employers, as long as the employers report to the Commissioner for Labour It is sufficient to submit a written application and comply with the relevant restrictions. For details, please refer to the Labour Department’s “Guidelines for Hiring Child Entertainers”.
The above information is for reference only. If you have any questions about tax declaration and accounting, we welcome your inquiries.