How many hours are 12-year-olds legally protected from working on a school day?


This map tells us the maximum number of hours that 12-year-olds are legally allowed to work on school days.

­ More information:

  • A nation’s stated maximum number of hours permitted on a school day is used whenever available.
  • When countries do not specify hours of work allowed on a school day, we use the maximum number of hours permitted per day (not specific to a school day) because it is assumed that these regulations will also apply to school days.
  • When countries state that work is prohibited during school hours but do not specify particular hour limitations, a 6-hour school day is assumed and is combined with data on hours of rest guaranteed at night; the remaining number of hours is used to determine the hours of work permitted on school days.
  • Protected from any work means that children are not generally permitted to do any type of work.
  • The International Labour Organization defines light work as “(a) not likely to be harmful to their health or development; and (b) not such as to prejudice their attendance at school, their participation in vocational orientation or training programmes approved by the competent authority or their capacity to benefit from the instruction received.” When a country does not explicitly define light work, we consider work “light” when legislation specifies that it cannot harm the child’s health or development or interrupt his or her schooling, or when the legislation explicitly identifies work that can be done at a younger age than general employment.