Minors and Youth

Minimum Age for Employment

Minimum age for employment is 16 years. A child aged between sixteen (16) and eighteen (18) may be employed under certain conditions that the daily rest period for a child worker must be at least 12 consecutive hours. A child has to be employed in work which is proportionate to his/her capacity. A child cannot be employed in the nocturnal, laborious, unsanitary or dangerous services for his/her health as well as his/her education and morality. A labour inspector may also request the examination of child by a recognized doctor to verify that the work entrusted to him is not beyond his capacity and is not toiling upon his health. If a child is not employed in suitable work, the employment has to be terminated and notice pay has to be paid to the child.

It is responsibility of the State to provide free education and to make sure that it is equally accessible to all. Compulsory education age is 15 years.

A parent or guardian who does not send his/her child to school while the child has reached the required age to start primary school is reprimanded in a village meeting and is ordered to send the child to school.

In case a parent or a guardian prevents the child from continuing his/her education, the parent or guardian is summoned to school to receive explanations on the importance of education and is obliged to bring the child back to school.

In the event of parent’s failure to comply with such orders, the school authorities can appeal to the Cell authorities where the child lives in order to bring the child back to school.

Similarly, anyone who engages a child into work that prevents him/her from going to school or encourages him/her to drop out of school is dealt with by the authorized bodies in accordance with the law and the child is brought back to school by the Cell authorities.

Source: Article 20 of the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda 2003 revised in 2015; Articles 4-7 of the Law regulating Labour in Rwanda, 2009 (aka Labour Code); Articles 2-3 of Ministerial Order No 001/2016 Of 08/01/2016 Providing Sanctions Against Parents Who Do Not Send Their Children to School and Against Other Persons Who Employ Children in Work Preventing Them from Going to or Encouraging Them to Drop Out of School

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Minimum Age for hazardous work is set as 18 years. Ministerial Order 2010-06 sets forth a list of the worst forms  of child labor by dividing it into three categories: worst forms of child labour (use of children in slavery, debt bondage, forced labour, armed conflict, prostitution and drug trafficking); work that may affect the heaths and security or morality of a child (includes work in mining or quarrying; drainages, work carried out in unhygienic conditions exposing a child to dangerous products or chemicals and work related to demolitions) and work that may be dangerous for the health of a child ( work related to fishing, domestic work, carrying loads, work carried out in long hours and at night between 08 p.m. and 06 a.m., and construction work).

A person who violates the child labour related provisions is liable to a term of imprisonment ranging from six (6) months to twenty (20) years and a fine of five hundred thousand to five million Rwandan francs or to either of these penalties.

Sources: Ingingo ya 72 & 168 of Labour Code, Ministerial Order Nº06 Of 13/07/2010 Determining The List of Worst Forms of Child Labour, Their Nature, Categories of Institutions That Are Not Allowed To Employ Them And Their Prevention Mechanisms

Regulations on Minors and Youth

  • Law regulating Labour in Rwanda, 2009 (Labour Code) / Itegeko rigenga umurimo mu Rwanda, 2009
  • Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, 2003 / Itegeko nshinga rya Repubulika y'u Rwanda, 2003