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III. Children aged between 13 and 15 as employees

Children aged between 13 and 15 are not allowed to work in factories or to take employment that is industrial in nature; but they can be employed in non-industrial establishments. Therefore, these children can work in offices or service and retail industries. Among these children, the law differentiates between those who have completed Form 3 education and those who have not.

A. Children aged between 13 and 15 who have completed Form 3

Children aged between 13 and 15 who have completed Form 3 are given more flexibility compared to those in the other category of the same age group. This is because students who have not yet completed Form 3 are assumed not to have completed the nine years of free education provided for by the government.

For this category of children, before any employment commences, parent(s) should produce for the prospective employer evidence that the child has completed Form 3 of his/her secondary school education. The parent(s) also need to provide the employer with written consent for the employment of their child.

Limitations on employment conditions

There are work conditions that employers have to adhere to. This category of children shall not be made to work under the following conditions:

Specific time of the day

Before 7 a.m., after 7 p.m.

Total hours/day

For more than 8 hours on any given day

Continuous work/break

Working more than 5 hours without break (“break” means not less than 1 hour for a meal or rest)

Load/weight carried

Carrying a load exceeding 18 kgs


B. Children aged 13-15 who have not completed Form 3

Not only do parent(s) need to give consent to the child’s employment in writing, but the parent(s) also need to give the prospective employer the child’s school attendance certificate. This is to prevent children from being made to work without completing the minimal amount of education promised by government policies.

There are work conditions to which employers have to adhere. As a consideration of government policy, special attention is given to ensure that the children can still go to school.

Time Limitations

This category of children shall not be made to work under the following conditions:

Specific time of the day

Before 7 a.m., After 7 p.m.

Total hours/day

During school term
For more than 2 hours on any school day or;
4 hours on any other day

During Summer Holiday
More than 8 hours on any day

Continuous work/break

Working more than 5 hours without break (“break” means not less than 1 hour for a meal or rest)

Load/weight carried

Carrying load exceeding 18 kg


Limitations on Premises

Certain premises are deemed dangerous or morally bad for the children. Therefore, the Employment of Children Regulations ( Cap. 57B ) lists certain premises where Children aged from 13 to15 years old shall not be employed:

  1. In any premises or place where intoxicating liquor is sold and consumed.

  2. Handling of refuse: Without prejudice to section 15 of the Public Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulation ( Cap. 132BK ), they shall not be employed in the handling for gain or profit of any refuse in any public place.

  3. Handling of dangerous goods: In the handling or delivery of any dangerous goods to which section 3 of the Dangerous Goods Ordinance ( Cap. 295 ) applies.

  4. Dangerous machines: At any machine, which by reason of its cutting, grinding, rolling, pressing, crushing or similar action, is dangerous.

  5. In any of the following premises or places, that is to say-
    1. Any dance hall, billiard saloon, mahjong, tin kau or gambling establishment; or
    2. Any premises or places at which any fixed odds betting or pari-mutuel betting, cash sweepstakes, or lottery is organized or conducted.
  6. In any place of public entertainment except in one presenting a stage performance the net profits (if any) of which are devoted to purposes other than the private gain or profit of the promoters of the performance.

  7. In the kitchen of any hotel, boarding house, cooked food shop, cafe, restaurant or any establishment of a similar kind.

  8. In outside window cleaning at more than 3m above ground level.

  9. In any abattoir or slaughterhouse, within the curtilage of any abattoir or slaughterhouse or in any premises so used in therewith.

  10. In any hairdressing saloon or massage parlour.
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