Minors and Youth

Minimum Age for Employment

A person must not employ a child who is under the age of 14. Where a child is at least aged 14 but has not reached the age of 16, they can be employed unless otherwise not allowed for a number of reasons. First, a child must not be employed in accordance with Article 15(2) of the Constitution of Namibia where they are required to perform work which is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with their education, or is harmful to their health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. 

Second, a child must not be employed where the Minister of Labour has prohibited it so. Third, a child is not to be employed in respect of any work between the hours of 10 pm to 7 am. Last, a child is not to be employed where on the premises work is done underground or in a mine; construction or demolition takes place; goods are manufactured; electricity is generated, transformed or distributed; machinery is installed or dismantled; or any work activity which is harmful to the child’s health, safety, or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. 

The compulsory education age is 16 years.

Source: §3 of the Labour Act, 2007; §53 of the Education Act, 2001

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

The minimum age for hazardous works is 18 years. The Constitution read with the Labour Act, 2007 forbids any sort of employment of children under the age of 14. Certain work activities for the children between the age of 14 to 16 are forbidden. Such work activities consist of night work; work which is done underground or in a mine; construction or demolition takes place; goods are manufactured; electricity is generated, transformed or distributed; machinery is installed or dismantled; or any work activity which is harmful to the child’s health, safety, or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. However, such tasks may be allowed where the Minister of Labour has permitted so through regulation.

Regulations relating to Domestic Work under the labour Act, 2007, no person is to employ a child below the age of 18 years as a domestic worker.

Regulations relating to Health and Safety of Employees at Work, 1997, no person below the age of 16 years is allowed to work at or in the vicinity of a construction site, engineering works, trench or excavation; at a pulp mill, saw mill or woodworking establishment; in the vicinity of an industrial processes at any factory; in any silo, storage bin, vat, hopper, tunnel, shaft, sewer or other confined space; on the cutting line of any packing plant or the evisceration line of any poultry plant or abattoir; in any forestry or logging operation; on any drilling or servicing rig; as an operator of any heavy, mobile equipment, any crane or other heavy housing equipment; or as an operator of a forklift truck or similar mobile equipment.

Furthermore, no person under the age of 18 years is to be employed underground or in a open-pit face of any mine; as a radiation worker; or in any activity for which respiratory equipment is required except where the work is being performed under the close supervision of a labour inspector. They cannot work in an environment where asbestos dust is likely to be released into the atmosphere. 

No person under the age of 18 years is to work or be permitted to work in a lead area or a respirator zone. An employer is also to ensure that no person under the age of 18 years is permitted to work at an underground or at the open-pit face of any mine; in a silica process; in any cleaning or maintenance work which is likely to involve exposure to dust from a silica process except under proper supervision; or in any activity where respiratory protective equipment is required except under proper supervision.

Source: §15(2) of the Constitution of Namibia, §3 of the Labour Act, 2007, Regulation 2 (1) of Regulations relating to Domestic Work and Regulations 12(1), 12(2), Rule 10(5) of 2.(1) of Schedule 1.2, 13(4) of 2.(2) of Schedule 1.2 & 4 of 2.(3) of Schedule 1.2 of Regulations relating to Health and Safety of Employees at Work, 1997 

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