Minors – refer to individuals who are below legal age.

1. Concepts

“Child” or “Children” refers to person below eighteen (18) years of age or those over but are unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition. (Section 3[a], R.A. 7610, as amended)

“Child abuse” refers to the maltreatment, whether habitual or not, of the child which includes any of the following:

1) Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment;

2) Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being;

3) Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival, such as food and shelter; or

4) Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child resulting in serious impairment of his growth and development or in his permanent incapacity or death. (Section 3[b], Ibid.)

“Circumstances which gravely threaten or endanger the survival and normal development of children” include, but are not limited to, the following;

1) Being in a community where there is armed conflict or being affected by armed conflict-related activities;

2) Working under conditions hazardous to life, safety and normal which unduly interfere with their normal development;

3) Living in or fending for themselves in the streets of urban or rural areas without the care of parents or a guardian or basic services needed for a good quality of life;

4) Being a member of a indigenous cultural community and/or living under conditions of extreme poverty or in an area which is underdeveloped and/or lacks or has inadequate access to basic services needed for a good quality of life;

5) Being a victim of a man-made or natural disaster or calamity; or

6) Circumstances analogous to those abovestated which endanger the life, safety or normal development of children. (Section 3[c], Ibid.)

2. Employment of Children

Children below fifteen (15) years of age shall not be employed except:

1) When a child works directly under the sole responsibility of his/her parents or legal guardian and where only members of his/her family are employed: Provided, however, That his/her employment neither endangers his/her life, safety, health, and morals, nor impairs his/her normal development: Provided, further, That the parent or legal guardian shall provide the said child with the prescribed primary and/or secondary education; or

2) Where a child’s employment or participation in public entertainment or information through cinema, theater, radio, television or other forms of media is essential: Provided, That the employment contract is concluded by the child’s parents or legal guardian, with the express agreement of the child concerned, if possible, and the approval of the Department of Labor and Employment: Provided, further, That the following requirements in all instances are strictly complied with:

(a) The employer shall ensure the protection, health, safety, morals and normal development of the child;

(b) The employer shall institute measures to prevent the child’s exploitation or discrimination taking into account the system and level of remuneration, and the duration and arrangement of working time; and

(c) The employer shall formulate and implement, subject to the approval and supervision of competent authorities, a continuing program for training and skills acquisition of the child. (Section 12, Ibid.)

In the above-exceptional cases where any such child may be employed, the employer shall first secure, before engaging such child, a work permit from the Department of Labor and Employment which shall ensure observance of the above requirements. (Paragraph 2, Section 12, Ibid.)

3. Hours of Work of a Working Child.

Rules on hours of work:

1) A child below fifteen (15) years of age may be allowed to work for not more than twenty (20) hours a week: Provided, That the work shall not be more than four (4) hours at any given day;

2) A child fifteen (15) years of age but below eighteen (18) shall not be allowed to work for more than eight (8) hours a day, and in no case beyond forty (40) hours a week;

3) No child below fifteen (15) years of age shall be allowed to work between eight o’clock in the evening and six o’clock in the morning of the following day and no child fifteen (15) years of age but below eighteen (18) shall be allowed to work between ten o’clock in the evening and six o’clock in the morning of the following day. (Section 12-A, Ibid.)

4. Ownership, Usage and Administration of the Working Child’s Income

The wages, salaries, earnings and other income of the working child shall belong to him/her in ownership and shall be set aside primarily for his/her support, education or skills acquisition and secondarily to the collective needs of the family: Provided, That not more than twenty percent (20%) of the child’s income may be used for the collective needs of the family.

The income of the working child and/or the property acquired through the work of the child shall be administered by both parents. In the absence or incapacity of either of the parents, the other parent shall administer the same. In case both parents are absent or incapacitated, the order of preference on parental authority as provided for under the Family Code shall apply. (Section 12-B, Ibid.)

a. Trust Fund to Preserve Part of the Working Child’s Income

The parent or legal guardian of a working child below eighteen (18) years of age shall set up a trust fund for at least thirty percent (30%) of the earnings of the child whose wages and salaries from work and other income amount to at least two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) annually, for which he/she shall render a semi-annual accounting of the fund to the Department of Labor and Employment, in compliance with the provisions of this Act. The child shall have full control over the trust fund upon reaching the age of majority. (Section 12-C, Ibid.)

5. Prohibition Against Worst Forms of Child Labor

No child shall be engaged in the worst forms of child labor. The phrase “worst forms of child labor” shall refer to any of the following:

1) All forms of slavery, as defined under the “Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2003”, or practices similar to slavery such as sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labor, including recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; or

2) The use, procuring, offering or exposing of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances; or

3) The use, procuring or offering of a child for illegal or illicit activities, including the production and trafficking of dangerous drugs and volatile substances prohibited under existing laws; or

4) Work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is hazardous or likely to be harmful to the health, safety or morals of children, such that it:

(a) Debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being; or

(b) Exposes the child to physical, emotional or sexual abuse, or is found to be highly stressful psychologically or may prejudice morals; or

(c) Is performed underground, underwater or at dangerous heights; or

(d) Involves the use of dangerous machinery, equipment and tools such as power-driven or explosive power-actuated tools; or

(e) Exposes the child to physical danger such as, but not limited to the dangerous feats of balancing, physical strength or contortion, or which requires the manual transport of heavy loads; or

(f) Is performed in an unhealthy environment exposing the child to hazardous working conditions, elements, substances, co-agents or processes involving ionizing, radiation, fire, flammable substances, noxious components and the like, or to extreme temperatures, noise levels, or vibrations; or

(g) Is performed under particularly difficult conditions; or

(h) Exposes the child to biological agents such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoans, nematodes and other parasites; or

(i) Involves the manufacture or handling of explosives and other pyrotechnic products. (Section 12-D, Ibid.)

6. Access to Education and Training for Working Children

No child shall be deprived of formal or non-formal education. In all cases of employment allowed in this Act, the employer shall provide a working child with access to at least primary and secondary education. (Section 13[a], Ibid.)

To ensure and guarantee the access of the working child to education and training, the Department of Education (DEPED) shall: (1) formulate, promulgate, and implement relevant and effective course designs and educational programs; (2) conduct the necessary training for the implementation of the appropriate curriculum for the purpose; (3) ensure the availability of the needed educational facilities and materials; and (4) conduct continuing research and development program for the necessary and relevant alternative education of the working child. (Section 13[b], Ibid.)

The DEPED shall promulgate a course design under its non-formal education program aimed at promoting the intellectual, moral and vocational efficiency of working children who have not undergone or finished elementary or secondary education. Such course design shall integrate the learning process deemed most effective under given circumstances. (Section 13[c], Ibid.)

7. Prohibition on the Employment of Children in Certain Advertisements

No child shall be employed as a model in any advertisement directly or indirectly promoting alcoholic beverages, intoxicating drinks, tobacco and its byproducts, gambling or any form of violence or pornography. (Section 14, Ibid.)

8. Duty of Employer

Every employer shall comply with the duties provided for in Articles 108 and 109 of Presidential Decree No. 603. (Section 15, Ibid.)


Book IV, Presidential Decree No. 442, a.k.a. Labor Code of the Philippines

Republic Act No. 7610, as amended

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