What about working hours for minors?

Occasionally, we come across kids selling cold beer in the stalls by the pool or underage barmaids in the nightclub. However, when you take on an underage temp in your business, the same rules won’t apply as for an adult. What can you trust such an employee to do and what is expressly prohibited by law?

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Who falls into the “juvenile” group

So is it possible to employ a minor in your company and have them work at night and with alcohol? You can employ a person who is over 15 years of age, but only if they have already completed primary school. The only exceptions are artistic, cultural, advertising or sports activities. However, you need a permit from the employment office for these activities. It is also limited to 20 hours per week and must not interfere with school lessons.

Thus, classical work can be performed by a juvenile worker, which according to the Labour Code is a person aged between 15 and 18 who has completed compulsory schooling. Therefore, the employer must check that under-age employees have completed compulsory schooling, for example by presenting a school report.

Compulsory school attendance ends as soon as school ends, i.e. at the end of June, when the pupil receives his/her report card. It lasts for 9 years, or until the pupil reaches the age of 17 (for example, if a pupil ‘fails’ twice, he or she can complete compulsory schooling in the seventh grade).

From the age of 15, a person has legal capacity and can therefore sign an employment contract or agreement with you. However, these persons may still be mentally and biologically immature. The law responds to this by laying down certain special rules for them.

Tip: Get help with writing your employment contract. Employment law can be complex and sometimes a small deviation from it can cause big problems later. We can help you navigate them and set up employment documents in accordance with the law.

What work must you not entrust to a juvenile employee?

Due to the mental or physical immaturity of this group, there are certain restrictions. Employers may only employ juvenile workers in jobs that are appropriate to their physical and mental development and provide them with special care at work. In short, this means that they are prohibited from being assigned work that would be unreasonable, dangerous or harmful to them at their age.

Certain jobs are expressly prohibited, such as underground work, mineral extraction, tunnelling etc… They must not work in positions where there is an increased risk of injury to them or where they could endanger the health of other persons or employees. They cannot therefore carry out, for example, work where there is a risk of occupational disease or physically demanding work where heavy loads are carried.

TheMinistry of Health sets out by decree other specific jobs and workplaces where minors cannot work (e.g. in the manufacture of explosives, on high voltage equipment, at heights above 1.5 m, where ionising radiation is used, etc.) The decree also states that these prohibitions do not apply to work where minors are being prepared for their future profession, under continuous professional supervision, and thus sets out other conditions under which such work can be carried out. Thus, if the work experience is under the supervision of a senior and experienced colleague, there is no problem.

Get advice

You are planning to hire a juvenile employee, but you are not sure what rules apply. Alternatively, are you a teenage employee and suspect that your employer is not following the legal rules and is putting you at risk at work? Let our attorneys help you.

Working time for minors

An employer may not impose overtime and night work on a minor. Exceptionally, 1 hour of night work may be imposed on a minor over 16 years of age if this is necessary for his/her education for the profession, but also under the supervision of an employee over 18 years of age. This night hour must be immediately following his daily shift.

Working on weekends is not prohibited because the employer determines the working hours and may set the so-called non-weekend rest days, but should try to set them so that the rest days include Sundays. All employees (not just minors) are then entitled to a minimum of 10% of average earnings for Saturday and Sunday work and 20% for night work.

Juvenile workers are also entitled to a meal and rest break of at least 30 minutes after 4.5 hours of work.

Tip: In our article, you will learn how breaks work and what the minimum requirements for taking breaks are set by law.

Continuous weekly rest shall not be less than 48 hours for a juvenile employee, while other employees shall be entitled to only 35 hours.

The employer must provide the minor employee with an occupational health examination at his/her own expense before the employment relationship begins, before the transfer to another job and regularly at least once a year thereafter. The minor employee must undergo such examinations. The employer must then take the doctor’s reports into account when assigning work tasks to the minor.

Young workers and working with money and alcohol

You may occasionally come across the statement that under-18s are not allowed to work with money. This is not actually the case. Underage workers can work with money, but employers do not like to let them near money. This is because a minor cannot sign a material responsibility. Therefore, if this minor employee makes a shortfall while working, the employer cannot recover the missing money from him. Therefore, it is up to the employer to decide whether to trust his or her minor employee with the money.

In contrast, working with alcohol (for example, in the form of working at a bar or at a poolside stand that sells beer) is prohibited, and the underage employee may not do so.

Beware of fines

You may be surprised by very high fines if you do not comply with the special conditions for working with underage employees. If you give your underage employees unreasonable work, this can mean a fine of up to one million crowns. If you fail to provide an occupational health examination, you could be fined up to half a million crowns and finally, if you do not follow the resulting medical report, this could mean a fine of up to 300,000 crowns.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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