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Working relations with children under the age of 7

Viimati uuendatud: 22.10.2020


Children under the age of 7 are prohibited from working under the Employment Contracts Act. However, if a child under the age of 7 is to be involved in cultural, artistic, sports or advertising activities, The Labour Inspectorate and Ministry of Social Affairs recommend that the employer enters into a written agreement with the parent or guardian confirming that the child wishes to participate in the project. 

It is important to ensure the well-being of the child 

The parent or person raising the child has the primary responsibility to ensure the protection of the child's well-being and rights. Before entering into such an agreement, the parent and the employer must consider the best interests of the child and ensure that participation is simple and safe for the child. This means analyzing whether the project in which the child is to be involved in is suitable for the child, taking into account the child's age, maturity, abilities, interests and other circumstances. The employer should explain the content of the project and ensure the parent considers the child's well-being while participating in the project. It is important that the child is being talked to about participating in the project according to his or her level of development. Among other things, it must be explained what is expected of him or her and what it means to participate in the project (eg that the child does certain activities at certain times, etc.) so that the child understands his or her expectations and still wishes to participate in the project. 

The child may quit the project at any time 

The agreement should state the child's right to receive remuneration for participating in the project. The receivable remuneration is for the child.[1] The agreement may also include an obligation on the parents to bring the child to rehearsals or performances in a timely manner. We also recommend agreeing on the consequences of a parent's or employer's refusal to participate in the project. 

It must be taken into account that a child under the age of 7 has the right to refuse to participate in the project at any time. The renunciation of a child should not entail an obligation for the parent to pay a contractual penalty or other sanctions. If the child renounces, depending on the circumstances, it is possible to reduce the agreed fee according to the volume of work done before the renunciation or also to waive the payment of the fee. At the same time, it is possible to agree on sanctions if the child's refusal to participate in the project or failure to appear is due to the fact that the parent does not bring the child to the workplace without a valid reason. 

Conclusion 

In conclusion, if you wish to involve a child under the age of 7 in a project, we recommend following the guidelines below: 

1. bear in mind that the child may only be involved in light work in the field of culture, art, sports or advertising;

2. first identify the interests and wishes of the child and put them first;

3. bear in mind that the planned activities are appropriate to the child's physical and mental abilities and do not jeopardize his or her morals[2] and are appropriate for his or her age;

4. enter into an agreement with the parent of a child under the age of 7 on how the child will be involved in the project;

5. register the agreement on participation in the project in the employment register (other agreement under the law of obligations within the meaning of the employment register) and to indicate in the additional data field that a child under the age of 7 is involved;

6. think about the possible dangers of the activity and give the child and the parent the necessary instructions to act safely and to proactively find potential substitutes in case the child is unable or no longer wants to participate in the project;

7. bear in mind that the agreement with the parent can be for the timely delivery of the child to the rehearsal or for the duration of the project and cannot be accompanied by an obligation to force the child to participate in the project;

8. the child must be able to withdraw from the project at any time if he or she so wishes, and the parent should not be penalized in the event of withdrawal (for example, a contractual penalty in the event of the child's withdrawal);

9. ensure that people in direct contact with the child in the project are not prohibited from working with children[3];

10. ensure that all staff and other persons who come into contact with the child during the project treat the child in a child-friendly manner, taking into account the child's age and other characteristics, avoiding unnecessary pressure on the child and preventing child abuse. 

The Child Helpline 116111 is a 24/7 toll-free service for reporting a child in need of assistance or asking for advice in child-related matters. Please find more information on the Social Insurance Board website.

Please find more information on verifying the restriction of working with children here. 

The counselling service of the Labour Inspectorate can be reached via phone at 640 6000 or via email jurist@ti.ee. 



[1] The corresponding amount must be spent by the parent either to cover the child's maintenance or invested in the child's future in accordance with prudent principles. The provisions for custody over property, which the parent must take into account when administering the child's property, are set out in the Family Law Act.

[2] The planned activity must not harm the child’s moral development - the activity must not include, for example, exposure to tobacco, alcohol, other psychotropic substances or contradict the ethical and moral norms prevailing in the society.

[3] Accourding to the Child Protection Act § 20, a person who has been punished or to whom coercive treatment has been imposed for a criminal offence provided for in §§ 113, 114, 116, 133–1333, 141–1451, 175, 1751 or 178–179 of the Penal Code, the information concerning punishment of which has not been deleted from the criminal records database according to the Criminal Records Database Act or the information concerning punishment of which has been deleted from the criminal records database and entered in the archives of the criminal records database, may not act as a child protection official or as a person working with children.

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