Child employed in supermarket

In my area there is a friend who owns a mini supermarket and has approached me to seek a consent for my child aged fifteen years to work for him in that supermarket. He wants my child to assist him in data entry on the computer and conduct regular stock-taking. While contemplating giving consent, a legal officer working with a certain trade union warned me that it is illegal for a child under eighteen years of age to be employed like this. Please guide.
LG, Dar

The law does not absolutely bar employment of a child under the age of 18 years. The employment and labour relations law allows employment of a child of 14 years and above. That leniency, however, goes with conditions. It is stated that a child of 14 years or above may only be employed to do light work, which is not likely to be harmful to the child’s health and development and that kind of work should not prejudice the child’s attendance at school. Allowed also is participation in vocational orientation or training programmes approved by the competent authority or the child’s capacity to benefit from the instruction received. A child who is still attending school is not allowed to work in any establishment in excess of 3 hours per day. The law further states that a child of 14 years and above who is on leave, has completed his studies, or is not in school for any justifiable reason, may be employed to work in an establishment for not more than 6 hours per day, provided it is not during school hours.

Besides the above conditions, a child is not allowed or permitted to work for more than 3 consecutive hours, without at least, an hour rest.  Prohibited also is working overtime or between 8PM and 6AM. As in your case the child will be working in a supermarket, there is a restriction also on a load which a child can carry. A child of 14 up to 16 years is not allowed or permitted to carry any load weighing more than 15 kilograms while a child of above 16 years is not allowed or permitted to carry any load weighing more than 20 kilograms.

Based on the provisions of the law above, the advice by the legal officer that a child under the age of 18 is not allowed to be employed is incorrect. We don’t see any harm for your child to work in a supermarket for data entry and regular stock-taking as he/she is above 14 years of age and is not in school. It is for the owner of the supermarket to ensure safety, compensate your child, and permit him/her to work within the parameters allowed by the law.