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Youth Labor Protection Act: Protect minors in the world of work!
- Youth Labor Protection Act and Child Labor Protection Ordinance
- JARbSchG: In a nutshell
Child labor: Unfortunately, it is still a common phenomenon in many parts of the world. Children who play in this country and enjoy their childhood already have to work hard and toil in other countries. Many minors and children have to toil in the fields, have no chance of an education or drop out of school to do exhausting jobs for inhumane pay. In Germany there is the Youth Labor Protection Act to protect children and young people.
Youth Labor Protection Act and Child Labor Protection Ordinance
With the Youth Labor Protection Act and the Child Labor Protection Ordinance, a legal framework is to be created to protect children and young people from the dangers in the workplace, excessive demands, exploitation and stress.
JARbSchG: In a nutshell
The JArbSchG is intended to protect children and young people under the age of 18 from the world of work and exploitation. Children and young people lack the necessary experience and development. Dangers often cannot be recognized and one's own limits cannot be assessed properly. That is why children and young people are under special protection.
With the Youth Employment Protection Act, the state wants to protect children and young people from excessive demands and dangers in the workplace. The law stipulates at what age, where and for how long one may work.
- The JArbSchG differentiates between children up to 15 years of age and adolescents from 15 to 18 years of age.
- The Youth Employment Protection Act applies to young people from 15 to 18 years of age.
- It includes paid employment, regardless of whether it is an apprenticeship, part-time job, casual job or internship.
- Minor assistance, for example in the household or with renovations, is not covered by the JArbSchG.
Why do children or young people work in Germany?
Regardless of whether it is an internship, a part-time job or a vacation job - in Germany too, there are times when children want to work. Reasons might be to gain extra pocket money or some initial professional experience. Some young people enter the world of work at the age of 16 in the form of vocational training, and the Youth Labor Protection Act (JArbSchG) also applies to these young employees.
In principle, children should not work at all according to § 5 JArbSchG, but there are some exceptions to this prohibition.
When are children allowed to work in Germany?
In Germany, children are allowed to work from the age of 13, up to the age of 15 they must obtain permission from their parents. Work is not allowed without parental consent.
In addition, special regulations and laws apply:
- Children between the ages of 13 and 15 are not allowed to work more than 2 hours a day.
- Children and young people are not allowed to work in front of school.
- Working after 6 p.m. is prohibited.
- Schoolchildren aged 15 and over are allowed to work for four weeks per calendar year during the holidays.
- Social hours that a juvenile judge orders the young person to do must be completed.
- If children are to participate in concerts, in the theater or in similar events, a special permit is required.
Working time for young people according to the Youth Labor Protection Act
How long can a young person work a day? What do you have to consider when working in shifts? Are there any special regulations and exceptions?
- For young people, the 40-week hour is an absolute upper limit, a working day can have a maximum of 8 hours.
- Overtime is taboo for underage employees and is not allowed.
- The maximum daily working time may be 8.5 hours if the young person works these hours from Monday to Thursday and shortens them accordingly on Friday.
- If young people over the age of 16 work in agriculture, they are allowed to work up to 9 hours a day. Up to 85 hours per double week are permitted.
Break times for teenagers
- If you work more than 4.5 hours, you must take a break of at least 30 minutes.
- If you work 6 hours or more, you are entitled to a 60-minute break.
- A break must last at least 15 minutes.
- The rest breaks must be allowed at reasonable intervals: at the earliest one hour after the start of the activity and at the latest one hour before the end of working hours.
- Young people may not be employed for more than 4.5 hours without a break.
Night work prohibited for young people
According to JArbSchG, young people are not allowed to work at night: Minors may only be employed between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Exceptions confirm the rule: In some industries, this prohibition cannot be complied with, so special regulations apply to the following industries:
- Bakery and pastry shops
- Hospitality and exhibition industry
- Multi-shift operations
There must be at least 12 free hours between the end of the day and the new working day.
The 5-day week applies to young people
Working on weekends is out of the question for young people thanks to JArbSchG! Basically, Saturday is free for minors and a day of rest. Employees under the age of 18 are also not allowed to work on Sundays and public holidays. In some industries, however, the 5-day week cannot be adhered to, so there are exceptions:
Despite exceptions, the following applies: The young person must be released at least two Saturdays a month! If a minor works exceptionally on the weekend or on a public holiday, he is entitled to a day off in the same working week.
Vacation entitlement as an employee under the age of 18
Of course, underage employees are also entitled to vacation, which is graded according to age. When calculating the vacation entitlement, the Youth Labor Protection Act assumes a 6-day working week, so Saturday counts as a working day.
Holiday entitlement 6 days a week
- At the age of 15, young people are entitled to 30 days of vacation.
- At the age of 16, young people are entitled to 27 days of vacation.
- At 17 years of age, you are entitled to 25 working days.
If young people work “only” on five working days per week, the vacation entitlement is reduced accordingly.
Holiday entitlement 5 days a week
- Young people under the age of 16 are entitled to 25 days of vacation.
- Young people under 17 years of age are entitled to 23 days of vacation.
- Young people under the age of 18 are entitled to 21 days of vacation.
This is the legal right that young workers have according to the law. It is always possible that the employer grants more vacation days than required by law.
Dangerous work is prohibited for young people
There are jobs that involve a high risk of danger, injuries and accidents. That is why the Youth Labor Protection Act provides a defined area for young people in which they are not allowed to pursue any activity! It is forbidden to expose young people to dangerous work.
The following work is prohibited for young people:
- Working with a particularly high risk of accidents.
- Activities in which young people are exposed to extraordinary heat, moisture or cold.
- Work that exceeds capacity.
- Activities in which young people are exposed to harmful noise or radiation.
- Work in which minors come into contact with dangerous working materials.
Exceptions: young people and dangerous work
But what about an apprenticeship in which exactly these things are on the daily schedule? There are training occupations that are associated with dangerous work, which is why the Youth Labor Protection Act allows dangerous work, provided that this is unavoidable for the training.
Furthermore, young people are allowed to do dangerous work if ...
- a competent supervisor ensures the protection of the minor
- Hazardous substances does not exceed the air limit value for dangerous substances.
Employers must point out accident and health hazards
It is not only important for young people to inform employees about possible accidents and dangers before starting work. An employer is always obliged to protect its employees and to warn of possible risks and dangers!
Young people must be informed about the correct use of personal protective clothing and be instructed before using a new machine, with dangerous substances or at dangerous workplaces. This instruction must be refreshed every six months.
In terms of the instruction obligation, it does not matter whether you are in training, doing an internship or are an employee.
Youth Labor Protection Act and attendance at vocational school
Many apprentices are still minors, which is why the Youth Labor Protection Act often falls into the area of vocational training. In dual training, the trainees complete a practical and theoretical part - the practical part takes place in the company and the theoretical part in the vocational school.
Young people often ask themselves whether they still have to work after class at the vocational school, if classes end earlier for certain reasons, if they are canceled or if they regularly end before the end of regular working hours in the company.
After attending vocational school, young people no longer have to go to the training company if
- The vocational school day has more than five lessons of 45 minutes per week.
- The vocational school is organized as block lessons and according to the timetable at least
- Lessons take place at least five days a week.
This only applies to trainees under the age of 18, after which these regulations do not apply.
What happens if the Youth Labor Protection Act is violated?
Many different authorities check and monitor compliance with the Youth Labor Protection Act. Your employer is obliged to inform you which supervisory authority is responsible for your company so that you can contact this authority if you have any questions.
If an employer violates the provisions of the JArbSchG, he or she commits an administrative offense and, in particularly difficult cases, even a criminal offense. A violation of the law can be punished with a fine of up to 15,000 euros. A criminal offense can result in a fine or even imprisonment. If an employer has already been fined three times, he is no longer allowed to employ young people!
As you can see, there are some laws and peculiarities that are intended to protect minors in Germany - but also many exceptions, which often make it difficult to keep an overview.
If you feel that you have been treated unfairly during your work or you feel that you are not up to the job, please contact your employer first and, in the next step, the responsible authority. Good luck for your start in the world of work!
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