How Old Do You Have To Be Before You Can Start Working In Singapore

How Old Do You Have To Be Before You Can Start Working In Singapore

Generally, under the Civil Law Act, people who are above the age of 18 will have the capacity to enter into an employment contract.

Under the Employment Act and the Employment (Children and Young Persons) Regulations, it is provided under Regulation 3 that no child below the age of 13 shall be ‘employed’ in any occupation.

Children above the age of 13 are able to start working in Singapore. However, children and young persons face restrictions in the type of work they are allowed to do.

In accordance with Singapore law, children above the age of 13 may be employed for light duties as long as the work is in a non-industrial setting. Examples of industrial work include undertakings in constructional work, shipbuilding, transformation or transmission of electricity or motive power, the transport of passengers or goods and undetakings in which articles are manugactured, assembled, altered, cleaned, repaired, ornamented, finished, adapted for sale, broken up or demolished.

For children between 15 and 16 years of age, they may be employed in an industrial setting, provided that:-

  • they have been examined by a registered medical practitioner and certified to be medically fit;
  • the employer notifies the Commissioner of Labour within 30 days; and
  • the industrial undertaking concerned has not been declared by the Minister of Labour to be an undertaking in which young persons are not to be employed.

Certain forms of work are also considered unsuitable for children under the age of 16. These include, but are not limited to:-

  • Where work conditions may cause injury.
  • Servicing or attending to moving machinery.
  • Being near live electrical apparatus that is not effectively insulated.
  • Underground work.

Breaches of these regulations can constitute a criminal offence by both the employer as well as any parent or guardian who knowingly or negligently allows such employment and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.

Filed under: Employment Law
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