New law introduced on working conditions for children under 14 in Turkey
Meltem Özgenç – ANKARAChildren under 14 will only be permitted to work a maximum of five hours daily in the arts, culture, TV and advertisement sectors, according to a recently passed new law.
The new Occupational Health and Safety Law, which entered into force on April 23 after being published in the Official Gazette, regulates working conditions for children under the age of 14. Such young children were previously not officially allowed to work and their working conditions were therefore not regulated.
Supreme Council of Radio and Television (RTÜK) head Davut Dursun said the new regulation particularly aimed to help children who work in TV series.
“It is legally forbidden for children under the age of 14 to work, but children who work in the arts, culture, TV and advertisement sectors will now be permitted to work for up to five hours per day,” Dursun said.
He added that a clause obliging children’s attendance at school while working in the mentioned sectors had also been introduced.
Stating that international agreements consider everyone under the age of 18 as a “child” and state as a general rule that children must not be allowed to work, Dursun said Turkey’s new Occupation Law covered “special circumstances.”
“Although employing children under 14 years old is absolutely forbidden, we know that in TV series and advertisements many children younger than 14 are employed without being subject to any regulation. In the new law an exception has been made for children in such a situation, opening the way for the working conditions of [these children] to be regulated,” said Dursun.
He said nobody had complained about children who worked on advertisements such as diaper adverts, as this was necessary. However, limits are often exceeded in TV series, meaning that many child actors have been unable to attend their schools due to long working hours.
“With the new law they will be able to work, but within certain boundaries,” Dursun said, adding that children were also obliged to attend classes with the new law.
Portion of wages to be reserved until after 18 years of age
The Labor and Social Security Ministry is currently drafting a bylaw to determine the details of the law, in which it is asking for the opinions of the Family and Social Policies Ministry, the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the Health Ministry, the Education Ministry, and RTÜK.
At the moment, the child’s family received all the money they earn for work, but RTÜK will recommend a new method, Dursun said.
“We as RTÜK will advise them to make at least one portion of the money earned to be put into an account, which the child will earn the right to access when they reach full legal age. Thus we believe the exploitation of the children in the sector can be avoided,” he added.