Minors and Youth

Minimum Age for Employment

In accordance with article 53 of the Constitution, every child has the right to be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labour.

Under provisions of Employment Act, a child under the age of 16 years can't be employed. Children between the ages of 13 to 16 years may perform light work only. Employment of child under 13 years of age is prohibited.

However, the Industrial Training Act allows minors under age 15 to work as apprentice in an industrial undertaking without setting a minimum age. The Children Act defines child as any person below eighteen years of age. According to this Act, every child has a right to free basic education and it is the duty of the government and the parents to provide education to the child.

Sources: §53 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010; §56 of the Employment Act 2007; §7 of the Children Act 2001; §8 Industrial Training Act 1960

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Employment Act defines young person as a child who has attained the age of sixteen years but has not attained the age of eighteen years.

According to Children Act, every child (under 18 years) has to be protected from economic exploitation and any work that is likely to be hazardous or  interferes with the child’s education, or is harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.

The Act prohibits worst form of child labour, which include all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery; the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances; the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties; and work that is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of the child.

It is prohibited to employ children at night between  18:30 and 06:30 except when ordered by the Minister in case of emergency. The minimum age for hazardous work is 18 years. 

An authorized officer may request medical examination of the children employed in an enterprise, at any point during the employment, in order to establish that their jobs are not beyond their physical capabilities.

Employer must keep and maintain a register of employed children indicating age and date of birth; date of entry into and of leaving the employment; and such other particulars as may be prescribed.

A person involved in worst form of child labour or who does not abide by the regulation related to the child's employment is a liable to a fine up to 200,000 shillings or to imprisonment up to twelve months or to both.

Sources: § 2, 53-64 of the Employment Act 2007;  § 10 (1) of the Children Act 2001

Regulations on Minors and Youth

  • Employment Act, 2007
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