The Youth Employment Protection Act, which came into force in 1960 and has been amended several times since then (Law for the Protection of Working Youth, JArbSchG), is the most important work protection law in Germany that regulates issues related to the employment of children and young people.
In relation to adult labor law, the JArbSchG grants children and young people a number of additional protective rights that cannot be waived in an employment contract. These include, above all, employment bans, vacation and public holiday regulations and working time regulations.
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Employment of children
The law generally only permits the employment of people younger than 15 years of age (children as defined in the JArbSchG) in a few exceptional cases (e.g. internship).
Young people (15 to 18 year olds) who are required to attend full-time school are legally equal to children in this regard.
However, children aged 13 and over and young people of school age may, with the consent of their legal guardians, carry out light activities such as messenger services or simple cleaning work. However, they are not allowed to work during class time and not in the evening, at night and early in the morning and generally not more than two hours a day.
Employment bans for young people
The Youth Labor Protection Act (JArbSchG) prohibits the employment of young people in a number of dangerous work areas. This includes in particular activities in which the physical or psychological performance of the young people is overwhelmed, they are exposed to particular pollutant emissions or they could be morally endangered.
In addition, young people are generally not allowed to be used for piecework or tempo work. Company-related overtime is only permitted in exceptional cases when employing young people (emergencies).
Working time rules for young people
Young people are allowed to work a maximum of five days a week and only in exceptional cases on the weekend. There is a general ban on public holidays (including Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve).
The pure weekly working time must not exceed 40 hours and is limited to a maximum of 8.5 hours per day.
Young people who work less than six hours a day are entitled to 30 minutes' daily rest. If they work six hours a day or more, the employer must give them a break of one hour.
Young people up to and including 16 years of age are only allowed to work during core working hours from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In certain sectors (hospitality, bakeries, etc.), there are exceptions for older young people.
Holidays for teenagers
The minimum leave stipulated in the JArbSchG is staggered according to age group and amounts to 25 to 30 days annual leave.
When employing young people, the employer who not only employs young people for light work on a short-term basis is obliged to take certain health care measures. This includes, above all, the demand for medical examination certificates.