Workers under the age of 18 are not allowed to do the same work under the same conditions as adults. Young Workers’ Act shall apply to work done by a person under 18 years of age, whether in an employment relationship in the private or public sector. In addition to employment relationships, the provisions of the act on occupational safety and health shall also be applied to, for instance, the practical training of under-18-year-old pupils or practical work done at school.
The objective of the Act is to protect young people from excessive work-related strain harmful to individual development. The employer shall see to it that the work he has young people do is not hazardous to their physical or mental development, and that it does not require more exertion or responsibility than can be considered reasonable with respect to their age and physical capabilities.
The act includes provisions concerning
- conditions on which young people can be admitted to work;
- regular working hours of young workers;
- maximum working hours;
- distribution of working hours;
- periods of rest granted to young people, and occupational safety;
- employer’s responsibility to provide training and guidance;
- special responsibilities concerning special protection measures; and
- organisation of medical examinations.
Work can be divided into duties forbidden or hazardous to young people, work with no special provisions, and light work suitable for young people. Additional provisions applied to work done by young workers include the Government Decree on Work Especially Harmful and Hazardous to Young Workers (475/2006), the Decrees of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on the List of Work Hazardous to Young Workers (188/2012), and on Light Work Suitable for Young People (189/2012).
Furthermore, general labour legislation shall be applied to the employment of young people, unless the above-mentioned special law or decree specifically deviates from the general provisions. Young people working on board Finnish vessels shall be subject to the provisions concerning young workers laid down in the Seafarers’ Employment Contracts Act and Seamen’s Working Hours Act.