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5. Minors

Statutory text:

Section 1

For the purposes of this Act, a minor is a person under the age of 18 years.

Section 2

The Swedish Work Environment Authority, with respect to a person who has responsibility for safety under Chapter 3, Sections 2-12, Chapter 5, Section 3, paragraph 1 or Section 6 of this chapter, may decide on injunctions or prohibitions required for 

1. ensuring that this Act or regulations issued under the Act are complied with, and
2. ensuring that the provisions of Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 covered by the Work Environment Authority's regulatory responsibilities are complied with.

A decision on an injunction or prohibition may be combined with a fine. Such an injunction or prohibition may also be directed against the state as an employer.

Section 3

A minor may not be used for or carry out work in a manner entailing a risk of accidents or of overexertion or any other harmful effect on the minor’s health or development.

The Government, or by authority of the Government, the Work Environment Authority may issue Provisions concerning conditions for or the prohibition of a minor being used for or carrying out work entailing a substantial risk of accidents or overexertion or other harmful effects on the minor’s health or development.

Section 4

The Government, or by authority of the Government, the Work Environment Authority may make provision that, in a medical examination prescribed by authority of Section 2 (4) or Section 3, subsection two, a register is to be kept showing the names of the persons examined and the results of the examination.

Section 5

The Government, or by authority of the Government, the Work Environment Authority may issue Provisions concerning the length and arrangement of working hours for minors used for or carrying out work.


Comments on Chapter 5:

Stipulations on minors

Stipulations on the employment of minors have long been an important part of work environment legislation. In Sweden today, with nine years’ compulsory schooling and almost universal upper secondary schooling, these stipulations are less important than they used to be. The protective rules of the Work Environment Act have also been framed so as not to impede young people’s contacts with working life.

A person under the age of 18 is a minor (Section 1). A minor may not be employed before the calendar year in which he (or she) is 16, and he must have completed his compulsory schooling (Section 2). This applies both to a minor with employee status and to a minor working as an entrepreneur or in a family business. However, a minor aged 13 or over may do light work which is not harmful to his health, development or schooling.

The Work Environment Authority can issue Provisions making further exceptions to the 13-year rule, but only for very light work which would otherwise involve major problems of implementation. The Authority can also issue Provisions laying down conditions for, or totally prohibiting, the employment of minors on work which entails substantial risks (Section 3).

Furthermore, the Work Environment Authority is empowered to issue Provisions on the medical examination of minors where necessary (Sections 2-3). The Authority can also issue Provisions on the length and arrangement of minors’ working hours (Section 5).

Work on board ship is subject to special minimum age provisions of the Seafarers Act and the Maritime Safety Act which are much the same as those otherwise applicable.