I. Laws Protecting Young Workers

Definition of “Children” and “Young Persons”

In Hong Kong, youth are a special category of people who are specifically protected under the employment law. The term youth includes both “children” and “young persons”.

In relation to employment, under the Employment Ordinance ( Cap. 57 ) a “child” is defined as a person under the age of 15 whereas “young persons” are defined as persons above the age of 15 but under the age of 18.

The Five categories of youth in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, youth are grouped into five categories with respect to employment. They are grouped in terms of age (children and young persons), and the nature of their work (such as entertainers and apprentices). Below is a breakdown of the various categories of youth in Hong Kong:

    1. Children aged below 13
    2. Children aged between 13 and 15 who have either:
      • Completed Form 3
      • Not completed Form 3
    3. Entertainers
      • Extras
      • Contract Artists/Freelancers
    4.  Apprenticeship
    5. Young persons between the age of 15 and 18 who are:
      • Young persons working in factories/industrial undertakings
      • Young persons working at sea

Employment of youth in Hong Kong is governed by the Employment Ordinance ( Cap. 57 ) and various Regulations issued under the Employment Ordinance . The Employment Ordinance does not apply to youth who are registered apprentices under the Apprenticeship Ordinance ( Cap. 47 ). Under the Employment Ordinance , youths are deemed to be employed as long as they are working, whether or not they are paid or receive wages for their work.