Ireland: The Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act defines a child as "a person who is under 16 years of age or the school-leaving age, whichever is the higher"; and defines a young person as "a person who has reached 16 years of age or the school-leaving age (whichever is higher) but is less than 18 years of age". In general, the Act prohibits the employment of children under 16 years. Employers may, however, take on 14 and 15 year olds, on light work during the school holidays, provided there is a minimum three week break from work during the summer; or part-time during the school term (over 15 years old only, and for a maximum of 8 hours in the week); or as part of an approved work experience or education programme where the work is not harmful to their safety, health or development. Children (i.e. under 16 years of age) can also be employed in cultural, artistic, sports or advertising work which does not interfere with their attendance at school, vocational guidance or training programmes or capacity to benefit from the instruction received. Young workers are prohibited to perform more than 8 hours of work per day and 40 hours per week. During the school term, a 14 year old can’t be employed while a 15 year old can be employed for 08 hours a week. During holidays/summer term, the weekly working hours are 35 hours for both 14 and 15 year olds. Under the work experience program, the weekly working hours are 40 hours a week. Children under 16 can’t be required to work at night (20:00 to 08:00). Before employing a young person or child, an employer must ask for a copy of the birth certificate or other evidence of age and, before employing under 16s, an employer must get the written permission of a parent (or guardian). (Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996, S.3-6)
Ireland: The main legislation in Ireland on Forced Labour is Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 and its further amendment in 2013. The Act(s) prohibit sexual and labour exploitation among other exploitative practices. Labour exploitation is (a) subjecting the person to forced labour (including forcing him or her to beg); (b) forcing the person to render services to another person; or (c) enslavement of the person or subjecting him or her to servitude or a similar condition or state. The forced labour provisions are equally applicable to children. Forced labour means “a work or service which is exacted from a person under the menace of any penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily. The Acts prescribe long imprisonment terms and fine at the discretion of court for trafficking a person to exploit his/her labour. Section 23 of the Employment Permits Act 2006 makes it an offence for employers to retain workers’ passports, identity papers, qualification documents, driving licences or to make deductions from their wages to pay recruitment fees, travelling expenses or other fees related to obtaining a job in Ireland.
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