Minors and Youth

This page was last updated on: 2021-11-22

Minimum Age for Employment

Minimum age for employment is 15 years. Minors (under 18 years) cannot sign an employment contract without the consent of their parents or a guardian. A minor cannot be employed to perform night work.

Minors aged 12 to 15 years may be hired to do light work provided that the work is not hazardous to their health or mental and physical development and that it will not affect their attendance at school or training programs. A Labour Inspector may request that employed minors be examined by a doctor. If the doctor opines that the job is too hard for the minor, the employer must change the job or terminate the minor's employment.

The Education Law provides for free public education through grade 9 however education is not compulsory.

Sources: §177-178 of the Labour Law, promulgated by Royal Order No. CS/RKM/0397/01 of 13 March 1997 (amended in 2021); §31 of the Law on Education, 2007

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work is  18 years. A 2004 Prakas on the Prohibition of Hazardous Child Labor lists 38 types of hazardous work, including working underground; lifting, carrying, or moving heavy loads; deep-sea and off-shore fishing; working near furnaces or kilns used to manufacture glass ceramics or bricks; firefighting; construction and demolition work; work involving exposure to harmful chemical agents; work done in high temperatures; and handling and spraying pesticides and herbicides.

In addition to the hazardous list, regulations issued by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training also define unsafe working conditions in agriculture, including separate regulations for cassava and tobacco production, and freshwater fishing that are prohibited for children.

An employer may request permission from the Ministry of Labour to have employees who are at least 16 years old do to hazardous work, provided that their health, safety and morality are guaranteed and the employee has the appropriate training. Night work (between 22.00 and 05.00) is prohibited for the young workers and they must be examined medically on regular basis to check if their assigned work is according to their physical strength.

The Labor Inspector can request a government physician to examine children under eighteen years of age employed in an enterprise in order to establish that their jobs are not beyond their physical capabilities. If the examination indicates that workers are engaged in work beyond their physical capabilities, the Labor Inspector is empowered to demand that their job be changed or that they be let out of the establishment upon the advice or examination of the physician, if their parents so protest.

Employers are required to maintain a register of employed children under eighteen years indicating their date of birth. This register must be submitted to the Labor Inspector for observation.

The act of placing a minor to working conditions which are detrimental to his/her health or his/her physical development are punishable by an imprisonment from 2 (two) years to 5 (five) years and a fine from 4,000,000 (four million) Riels to 10,000,000 (ten million) Riels.

Sources: §173, 177-181 of the Labour Law, promulgated by Royal Order No. CS/RKM/0397/01 of 13 March 1997 (amended in 2021); Prakas on the Prohibition of Hazardous Child Labour (106/2004); §339 of the Penal Code

Regulations on Minors and Youth

  • Labour Law, promulgated by Royal Order No. CS/RKM/0397/01 of 13 March 1997 (amended in 2018)
  • Prakas on the Prohibition of Hazardous Child Labour (106/2004)
  • Law on Education, 2007