Rasa Grigonienė: What Employers Need to Know When Hiring Minors - MRU

6 July, 2023
Rasa Grigonienė: What Employers Need to Know When Hiring Minors
Law School

Expert:Mykolas Romeris University Law School  Lecturer, Labour Law LL.M. Programme Head Rasa Grigonienė

Interviewed by: MRU Law School representative Akvilė Alauskaitė 

As summer vacation begins, minors are entering the labor market. The need to earn extra money or gain work experience forces minors to look for any job that an employer offers. Most of the time, children and teenagers do not know the requirements for work, and employers and parents of minors often do not know the additional requirements and restrictions for such an employee. A 17-year-old girl, who works in a cafe until 11:00 p.m., did not even know that she was prohibited from working at night. When she found out, she said that she would not tell her employer, because he does not need such an employee who leaves an hour before the cafe closes. So, how to ensure suitable working conditions for minor employees and avoid violations? Mykolas Romeris University School of Law, Labor Law LL.M. program manager Rasa Grigonienė agreed to answer a few questions. 

What influence does the age of youth have on employment and the hiring?

Legal acts distinguish two groups when it comes to minors under the age of 18: children -  aged 14 to 16 and teenagers - aged 16 to 18. Children and adolescents are subject to different recruitment requirements and some special requirements during the course of employment.

What are the restrictions on the employment of minors?

Persons under the age of 18 shall be protected from any specific risk to their safety, health or development which may arise from the lack of experience of those up to age eighteen or the ignorance of what the risks are or may be, or the immaturity of those under the 18. Thus, in order to protect those under the 18 from any risk, they may not be employed, practically trained to perform work, if for objective reasons they are not physically or psychologically capable of working or performing practical training tasks, or the work involves exposure to harmful factors. Those  include toxic and carcinogenic substances , mutagenic factors, factors of reproductive toxicity and factors that can in some other way cause lifelong damage to human health. Prohibited work is also related to the harmful effects of radiation, with the risk of accidents that may not be avoided due to insufficient attention to safety or lack of experience or training of persons under the age of eighteen; with health risks due to extreme cold or heat or noise, vibration, electromagnetic fields, ergonomic factors.

In more detail, the list of prohibited jobs is determined in the Government-approved description of the procedure for the organization of employment, work and professional training of persons under the age of 18. It is important to note that minors are prohibited from working in jobs that involve alcohol in any process (orders, taking any orders, delivery).

What are the working and rest time restrictions for minors?

Night work restrictions apply to minors - children are prohibited from working from 22:00 to 6:00, and teenagers - from 22:00 to 6:00. Those under the age of 18 must be given at least two days of rest a week, if possible consecutively.  One of those days must be a Sunday. When the working time is longer than four hours, an additional break of at least thirty minutes must be given for rest. It counts towards working time or practical training time. Children's daily uninterrupted rest time, during a 24-hour period must not be less than 14 hours. Meanwhile, teenagers' daily uninterrupted rest time must not be less than 12 hours in a 24-hour period.

Children are granted annual leave or unpaid leave during the school holidays at their request. Children must be guaranteed 14 consecutive calendar days of rest during the school summer vacation. They are entitled to a minimum of 14 consecutive calendar days of annual leave or unpaid leave during the school summer holidays, if work is carried out during the entire school summer holidays of that year.

What distinguishes the employment procedures for minors?

When employing a minor, safety and health requirements are of particular importance. If  sending a person under the age of 18 for a health check-up, the employer should provide a description of the expected working conditions indicating potential occupational risks. Before employing a person under the age of 18, the underage person under 18 must submit to the employer a medical certificate issued by a health care institution. The employer must follow the instructions presented in this medical certificate issued by the health care institution, when assigning youth under the age of 18 to do specific work. A person under the age of 18 shall be informed by the employer of potential occupational risks and all safety and health protection measures for the person under the age of 18, before employing him and before his working conditions change.

In all cases, a Labour Contract is concluded with minors, which must be signed by the employee himself. Working without a Labour contract is considered illegal. The employer must also notify SODRA about the employment. There are additional requirements for the employment of children. Before employing a child and before his working conditions change, the employer must inform the child's parents or another representative of the child in writing, in accordance with the law, about the professional risks that the child may face, as well as his safety and health protection measures. You must also receive written consent from one of the parents or another legal representative of the child regarding the child's work, and a medical certificate issued by a health care institution with a decision that the child is suitable for a specific job. Also, written consent from the school, where the child is a pupil during the academic year is necessary.

Are the employment and working conditions of minors different when working during holidays and during school?

In the recruitment process, only one condition differs - the already mentioned requirement regarding the written consent of the school for the child's work, when the work takes place during the school year. As for the working conditions, the differences are manifested in determining the working time and duration. The length of working time of children doing light jobs outside of the school year is up to six hours a day and 30 hours a week. During the school year - up to 12 hours per week: up to 2 hours per day on school attendance days and up to 6 hours per day on non-school attendance days, if working during a trimester or semester, but not when classes are held at school.

The length of working time for teenagers is no more than 8 hours per day including daily lessons and no more than 40 hours per week including lessons. The working time of teenagers working under an apprenticeship contract in the company cannot last more than 8 hours a day (together with the daily duration of lessons (lectures) and the duration of acquiring theoretical knowledge in the company and training at the workplace) and no more than 40 hours a week (together with weekly lessons (lectures) and theoretical knowledge acquisition in the company and training at the workplace). Children's work in the mornings from 6 to 7 a.m. before classes is prohibited.