Convention (No. 138) concerning minimum age for admission to employment


The Convention (No. 138) concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment is an international labor standard established by the International Labour Organization (ILO). It sets out the minimum age at which children can be employed and aims to protect them from exploitation and ensure their education and development.

Here are the key provisions of Convention No. 138:

  1. Minimum Age for Admission to Employment: The convention sets a general minimum age for admission to employment or work, which should not be less than the age of completion of compulsory schooling, and in any case, not less than 15 years.
  2. Exceptions for Developing Countries: Developing countries that are unable to initially fix a minimum age of 15 years may establish a minimum age of 14 years, under certain conditions.
  3. Hazardous Work: The convention prohibits the employment of children under the age of 18 in work that is likely to harm their health, safety, or morals. The specific types of hazardous work are defined by national laws and regulations.
  4. Protection of Young Workers: The convention also addresses the protection of young workers between the ages of 15 and 18 who are employed, ensuring that appropriate regulations are in place to safeguard their well-being, working conditions, and access to education or vocational training.
  5. Enforcement and Monitoring: Countries that ratify the convention are required to enforce and promote its provisions through appropriate legislation, inspection systems, and penalties for violations. They must also periodically report on the implementation of the convention to the ILO.

It’s important to note that while Convention No. 138 sets the minimum age for employment, countries may have their own national laws that provide additional protections or set higher minimum ages based on their specific social and economic conditions.

The Convention has been widely ratified by numerous countries around the world as part of their commitment to safeguarding the rights and well-being of children and ensuring their healthy development.

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