Why are there child actors if children younger than 15 are not allowed to work?
In terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the employment of children under the age of 15 years is prohibited. But there is one exception: child actors. In terms of Sectoral Determination 10: Children in the Performance of Advertising, Artistic and Cultural Activities, South Africa, they may be employed in certain circumstances.
In terms of this determination, a child under the age of 15 may work for an employer only if the employer has a legal permit issued by the Minister of Labour.
The determination provides, inter alia, that a child between the ages of 11 and 15 years may work for a maximum of four hours per day, and a child of 10 years and younger for a maximum of three hours per day. The maximum amount of time a child may be present at work per day is also determined. Children under the age of five years may be present at work for a maximum of six hours, children between 5 and 10 years may be present for eight hours, and for children older than 10 years the maximum is 10 hours.
An actor over the age of 10 years must receive a rest break of not less than 30 minutes after two hours of continuous work. An actor aged 10 years and younger must receive a rest break of 30 minutes after 90 minutes of continuous work.
The employer must further ensure that the child is provided with nutritious food and drinks appropriate to the age of the child. In addition, the child must have a separate meal area where only the child’s parent or child minder is allowed.
A child actor may perform work between 21:00 and 05:00 only if his or her parent or legal guardian gave permission in writing and the employer submitted written reasons why the work must be performed during this time. The child must receive an agreed allowance, and if the parent or guardian insists, the child must undergo a medical examination for the account of the employer.
The above covers only some of the aspects governed by the sectoral determination. Any aspect that is not governed by the determination, will still fall under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
Author: Karolien van Wyk