Can my child quit school if he is working with my family in a family enterprise?

No, the law specifically states the importance of a child’s education and so you should not force your child to quit school. Instead, you should encourage him or her to learn and work at the same time. You should keep in mind:

  • Your child can only work in a family enterprise to help his or her own family and only work for the family.
  • Your child should not be given work during school hours and between 7 pm and 8 am.
  • Your child should not be engaged in tasks which may severely affect his education or homework or extra-curricular activity assigned to him or her.
  • Your child should not be engaged in continuous tasks without rest which would make him or her tired. It is important to provide care and support for the child by providing breaks to refresh his health and mind. That is why the law states that the child should not work continuously for more than 3 hours.

Can parents be punished for allowing their children to work?

The parents or guardians of the children who are working in violation of this law will generally not be punished for allowing their children to work.

However, this immunity does not apply if they make their child (who is under 14 years of age) work for commercial purposes or make their child (between 14 years and 18 years) work in a hazardous occupation or process.

The law does give them a chance to correct their wrong – when they are caught doing this the first time, they can settle it by paying money. However, if they make their child work again in violation of the law, they can be punished with a fine of up to Rs. 10,000.

What other work can a child do other than movies and sports under the child labour law?

Apart from sports and movies a child can work in other jobs such as:

  • Cinema and documentary shows on television, like reality shows, quiz shows, talent shows. A child can also participate in a radio activity.
  • Drama serials.
  • Anchor of a show or event.
  • Other artistic performances which the Central Government will permit in individual cases but these do not include street performances for monetary gains.

Employing adolescents between 14-18 years

Adolescents are allowed to work in places that do non-hazardous work. These establishments that do non-hazardous work are notified by the government. They are also allowed to work:

  1. In a family business. For example, working in your family jewellery business.
  2. As a child artist. For example, acting in Bollywood movies or in an advertisement.

Adolescents between the age of 14 to 18 are not allowed to work in:

  • Mines or places which use inflammable substances or explosives. For example, a factory which manufactures firecrackers.
  • Industries which use hazardous processes which are provided in another law called the Factories Act, 1948. They include coal, power generation, paper, fertilizer, iron and steel industries, asbestos, etc.

Employing children under 14

It is illegal to employ or allow children under the age of 14 in any form of occupation. Employers, parents or any guardian in charge of a child who allows a child to work in any type of occupation will be punished.

However, there are two exceptions. The Government allows children to work:

If you know of any acts of child labour where the child is below the age of 14, please report the crime.