Regulations on child and young workers in Turkey were included in Articles 71, 72 and 73 of the Law, and the Regulation on Child and Young Workers was published in the Official Gazette dated 06.04.2004 and numbered 25424 as “Regulation on the Procedures and Principles of Employment of Child and Young Workers” and entered into force.
According to Article 4 of the Regulation, a child labourer is a person who has completed 14 years of age, has not completed 15 years of age and has completed primary education. A young worker is a person who has completed 15 years of age but has not completed 18 years of age. Light work is defined as work that is not likely to have a detrimental effect on the development or health and safety of children and that does not prevent them from attending school, vocational training and participation in training programmes approved by the competent authorities and benefiting from such activities.
In order to employ child and young workers in Turkey, certain conditions must be met and certain procedures must be carried out. According to Article 11 of the Regulation, the employer must not have been convicted of offenses committed against children and/or disgraceful offenses. According to Article 12 of the Regulation, it is necessary to inform the parent or guardian of the child or young worker about the work to be performed by the child or young worker, the risks that the child or young worker will face and the precautions to be taken, to obtain a certificate from the child or young worker attending school that the child or young worker is a student before starting work and to keep it in the employee’s personal file, and to make an employment contract with the parent or guardian of the child or young worker.
According to Article 71 of the Law, in general, it is forbidden to employ children under the age of fifteen. However, children who have completed the age of fourteen and have completed compulsory primary education may be employed in light work that does not interfere with their physical, mental, social and moral development and the continuation of their education. Additionally, children who have not completed the age of fourteen may be employed in artistic, cultural and advertising activities that do not interfere with their physical, mental, social and moral development and the attendance of those who continue their education at school, provided that they make a written contract and obtain permission for each activity separately. Additionally, the jobs that both groups can be employed are listed in the annex of the regulation.
According to Article 5 of the Regulation, it is also possible for young workers under the age of 16 who have graduated from vocational and technical education schools and institutions within the scope of the Vocational Education Law No. 3308 to be employed in jobs suitable for their specialization and profession, provided that their health, safety and morality are fully secured.
Additionally, various provisions of the Labour Law also refer to works where child and young workers in Turkey are prohibited from being employed. Accordingly, it is forbidden to employ men under the age of eighteen and women of any age in underground or underwater work such as mines, cable laying, sewerage and tunnel construction (Article 72), to employ children and young workers under the age of eighteen at night in industrial work (Article 73) and to employ children and young workers under the age of 18 during the shifts between 2.00 a.m. and 06.00 a.m. (Article 5 of the Regulation).
Article 5. As specifically listed in Article 5 of the Regulation, child and young workers in Turkey are not allowed to work in preparation, completion and cleaning works, in the production and wholesale of alcohol, cigarettes and addictive substances, in the wholesale and retail sale of flammable, explosive, harmful and dangerous substances, in the production, processing and storage of such substances and in all kinds of works that are likely to be exposed to these substances, in environments with high noise and/or vibration, in extreme heat and cold, Workers under the age of 18 shall not be employed in jobs with substances harmful to health and causing occupational diseases, in jobs that are likely to be exposed to radioactive substances and harmful rays, in jobs that require excessive attention and require uninterrupted standing, in jobs that require excessive attention and require uninterrupted standing, in jobs that are paid by piecework and premium system, in jobs that do not allow them to return home or to their family at the end of work, except for jobs for educational purposes, in jobs that are above their physical and psychological competence with the report of the workplace doctor, in jobs that lead to lack of education, lack of experience and lack of attention to safety, money carrying and collection jobs and 69 of the Labour Law No. 4857. Workers under the age of 18 shall not be employed in the works performed during the periods coinciding with the night period specified in the first paragraph of Article 69 of the Labour Law No. 4857.
According to Article 5 of the Regulation, a number of general issues should be taken into consideration in the employment of child and young workers in Turkey. Accordingly, the safety, health, physical, moral and psychosocial development, personal predisposition and abilities of the child and young worker shall be taken into consideration. Additionally, employers shall ensure that children and young workers are protected against any risk that may jeopardise their development, health and safety due to lack of experience, ignorance of existing or potential risks or incomplete development.
When the provisions of the Regulation are evaluated, it is understood that child workers cannot be employed in jobs other than those listed in Annex 1 of the Regulation, young workers in Annexes 1 and 2 of the Regulation and young workers who have completed the age of 16 but have not completed the age of 18 cannot be employed in jobs other than those listed in Annexes 1, 2 and 3 of the Regulation.
According to Article 71 of the Labour Law, the daily and weekly working hours of child workers are limited to 7 hours a day and 35 hours a week for children who have completed the compulsory primary education age and do not continue formal education (apprenticeship, etc.) and 5 hours a day and 30 hours a week for those working in art, culture and advertising activities. It is possible to increase this period up to 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week for children over the age of fifteen. The working hours of children during the education period can be maximum 2 hours per day and 1″0 hour per week, except for education hours.
According to Article 7 of the Regulation, the periods specified in Article 66 of the Labour Law and counted as working time, the periods spent in the trainings required by the employer, the periods spent in vocational trainings and the periods they cannot continue their work due to their participation as representatives in conferences, commissions, congresses and similar meetings will be counted from the working time of child and young workers in Turkey.
According to Article 8 of the Regulation, the duration of week holidays to be used by child and young workers in Turkey shall not be less than forty hours without interruption. These workers shall not be employed on national and general holidays and the annual leave periods granted shall not be less than twenty days. Although they must use the annual leave uninterruptedly, this leave can be divided into two at most upon their own request. Additionally, annual leave must be granted to child and young workers attending school or training during the school holidays or during the periods when courses or other training programmes are not continued.
According to Article 13 of the Regulation, employers also have other obligations in relation to child and young workers in Turkey. Child and young workers should be provided with the necessary on-the-job training on the risks in the workplace, adaptation to work, their legal rights and the nature of the work before they start working. Changes should be made to the rules of work before the start of work or while work is in progress, but only taking into account the suitability and arrangement of the workplace and the place where the work is carried out, the type and sequence of work equipment used and the way they are used, the work organisation, the level of training and instructions given.
When a risk is identified in terms of the physical or mental development and safety of child and young workers in Turkey, necessary medical checks should be carried out as soon as possible.
In addition to the Turkish labour law, according to the amended Article 12 of the Law on Police Duties and Powers No. 2559, without prejudice to legal exceptions, persons under the age of 18 shall not be employed in places open to the public for entertainment, gaming, drinking and similar purposes and the opening of which is subject to permission. According to Article 176 of the Public Hygiene Law No. 1593, local municipalities should prohibit the employment of children under the age of 18 in bars, cabarets, dance halls, coffee houses, casinos and baths.