Minors and Youth

Minimum Age for Employment

A child has been defined to mean a person under the age of 15 years. A young person has been defined as person above the age of 15 but below the age of 18. No one is to recruit any child or young person for employment. Any person who does so will be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding P2,000 or be imprisoned for a term not exceeding 18 months or to both.

A child cannot be employed in any capacity. However, where the child has attained the age of 14 and is not attending school, he may be employed for light work which is not harmful to his health and development by a member of his family or for such work as may be approved by the Commissioner. However, where the employment is other than of a domestic character in connection with which suitable accommodation is provided, the child is to return to his parents or guardian each night. A child is not permitted to work more than six hours a day or 30 hours a week.

A child who has attained the age of 14 years and is still attending school can be employed during school vacations for light work which is not harmful to his health for not more than five hours a day between 6 am and 4 pm. For this, the approval of the Commissioner is required.

Under the Children Act, every child has the right to be protected from labour practices which are inappropriate for the child’s age or which have detrimental impact on the child’s education, physical or mental health, or social, moral or spiritual development. A person who employs a child has to submit the necessary records to Ministry of Labour. Failure to do so can lead to a fine of P10,000. Any person who employs children will be fined P10,000 to P30,000 and can be imprisoned for 12 months to 5 years.

Education is not compulsory in Botswana.

Source: § 2, 47 & 105 of the Employment Act, 2010 and 24 of the Children Act

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

A child cannot be required or permitted to work more than six hours a day or 30 hours a week. A child or young person cannot, without the express permission of the Commissioner, be required or permitted to work in an industrial undertaking for more than three consecutive hours in the case of a child or more than four consecutive hours in the case of a young person, without a period of rest which shall not be less than 30 minutes.

A young person cannot, without the express permission of the Commissioner in writing, be required or permitted to work in an industrial undertaking for more than seven hours a day. Where a young person employed on work in an industrial undertaking is attending school, then the hours of his attendance at school will be deemed to be hours of work in the industrial undertaking, unless it is a government institution or approved by public authority.

A child or young person is not to be employed on any kind of work during the night. For a child, night consists of the period between 10 pm to 6 am. For a young person, night consists of the period between 11 pm to 6 am.

However, a young person may be employed on work during the night in the case of an emergency which could not reasonably have been foreseen and prevented or if the young person is so employed under a contract of apprenticeship or indenture to learn.

A child is not to be required or permitted, in the course of his employment, to lift, carry or move anything so heavy that it is likely to endanger his physical development. A child or young person is not to be employed for underground work. Furthermore, young person or child cannot be employed on any work which is harmful to his health, development, safety or morals.

Source: § 105, 106 & 107 of the Employment Act, 2010

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