Minors and Youth

Minimum Age for Employment

Minimum age for employment is 15 years. The employers are not allowed to employ a person less than sixteen years of age unless authorised by Labour officer or he/she is employed under an apprenticeship contract.

The employer must maintain a register of all the young workers and make it available when required by a Labour Officer or Police officer or Assistant Officer. The register must contain general information such as their name and date of birth.

In accordance with the provisions of Bill of Rights provided under Draft Constitution of 2014, a person shall not engage a young person in an occupation or employment which would prejudice the health, education or interfere with the physical, mental or moral development of that young person.  The Constitution also a young person may be employed for a wage, as prescribed. Bill of Rights is not part of the 2016 Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act and will be subject to a referendum during the 2016 general elections being held on 11 August 2016. The referendum was held and although 71% of voters voted in favour of the amendments, since the turnout was only 44%, below the 50% threshold required to validate the result, the amended Bill of Rights 2016 could not be approved. Thus, the Bill of Rights contained in 1996 Constitution is still applicable. 

Source: §63 of the Draft Bill of Rights 2016; §7 of the Employment of Young Persons and Children Act No. 10 of 1993, last amended in 2004; §12 of the Employment Act 1965

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work is set as 18 years. A young person shall not be employed on any type of employment or work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to jeopardise the health, safety or morals of that young person. Young persons are prohibited from the employment or work that is detrimental to health, safety and morals.

The Prohibition of the Employment of Young Persons and Children (Hazardous Labour) Order provides a list of occupations that are considered to be hazardous for the employment of young persons and children. The Minister after consultation with the relevant trade unions and employers' associations, may authorise in writing the employment of young person not below the age of sixteen years of age in any type of employment or work, if satisfied that the health, safety and morals of the young persons are fully protected and that the young persons have received adequate and specific instruction or vocational training in the relevant branch of activity.

A young worker can be employed in a work of artistic performance by written permission prescribing the number of hours to be worked and the conditions under which the young person works as provided by the Minister. A young worker must not be employed in a task that constitutes a worst form of labour. Otherwise, the person is liable to a fine of two hundred thousand penalty units to one million penalty units, or imprisonment of five to twenty-five years, or both.

Young workers are also not allowed to work at night. However, young workers above sixteen years of age can be employed in industries that require shift work, but not in cases of emergency.

Bill of Rights is not part of the 2016 Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act and will be subject to a referendum during the 2016 general elections being held on 11 August 2016. The referendum was held and although 71% of voters voted in favour of the amendments, since the turnout was only 44%, below the 50% threshold required to validate the result, the amended Bill of Rights 2016 could not be approved. Thus, the Bill of Rights contained in 1996 Constitution is still applicable.

Source: §63 of the Draft Bill of Rights 2016; §8-19 of the Employment of Young Persons and Children Act No. 10 of 1933, last amended in 2004; The Prohibition of the Employment of Young Persons and Children (Hazardous Labour) Order, 2013 (S.I. No. 121 of 2013)

Regulations on Minors and Youth

  • Employment Act, 1965
  • Draft Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, 2012
  • Employment of Young Persons and Children Act (No. 10 of 1933)
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