To explore the full set of age-related legislation in the area of Economic participation & education,
you can download the PDF or the Excel version. The full data set for all thematic areas is also available for download.
The domains of economic participation and education are considered together due to the close relationship in some of the relevant age-related legislation, i.e. the minimum legal full-time working age and the end of mandatory schooling.
When it comes to economic rights, the CEE/CIS region demonstrates legislative commitment to protecting children from hazardous work and equal access to minimum wage schemes. Across the region, all States have set legal minimum ages for the start and end of compulsory education, with countries using an 8-10 year educational curriculum.
Article 32 of the CRC asks States to “provide for a minimum age or minimum ages for admission to employment.” All countries have set a minimum age for admission into full-time employment, with the lowest age being 14 years old in Turkey. In
nine countries, the legal minimum age at which a child can independently enter full-time employment is 16 years, with six countries providing the ability for work below that age with the parental or guardian consent. In seven countries,
the minimum age is 15 years, with Serbia mandating that the capacity or ability of the child should be considered.
Minimum legal full-time working-age
The right to make small economic transactions
Across the region, the variation is small in terms of admission to employment, however numerous contradictions can be found when considered against the end of mandatory schooling. Eleven countries across the region have a lower minimum
age for full-time work than the age at which mandatory schooling ends. These countries were predominately CIS or former Soviet Union countries. This suggests that children could be leaving school to gain employment.
The table below compares the minimum age for full-time work and the end of mandatory schooling:
|Country||Minimum age for admission to full-time employment||End of mandatory schooling/ minimum school leaving age|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||15||15|
In the development of the forthcoming »General Comment on Adolescence«, there is considerable debate between those advocating stronger protections for children against labour exploitation and those – at times the children themselves – that see employment as a positive aspect in a child’s life that should not be subject to a minimum legal age. Paragraph 89 highlights the “important developmental role” of work for children providing that “it is not a worst form of child labour and does not interfere with compulsory education.” This is particularly relevant for households facing poverty, where children can provide an economic contribution to the family. Paragraph 90 notes that “general bans on work for adolescent who have reached the minimum working age, which must be above compulsory school age, are counterproductive.” This is also the case in another five countries across the region (orange highlights).