On September 30, 2020, Law No. 21.271 was published in the Official Gazette, which amended the Labor Code, adapting it to protect children and adolescents in the workplace. In particular, this legal amendment contemplates the following:
1. The Labor Code is modified, in that part which contemplated the distinction between adults and minors under eighteen, but over fifteen. By virtue of this law, categories of adolescents are established, with and without age to work respectively.
2. It also establishes an additional category, which is that of children, who in theory are not allowed to be hired, unless certain formalities established in the law are complied with. This legal amendment defines what is meant by “protected adolescent work” and “dangerous work.
3. It establishes that, in qualified cases, children and adolescents who are not old enough to work may enter into contracts to participate in certain shows, with the employer having to adopt effective protection measures and agree on their working hours, always in the best interest of the child or adolescent. It is also added that the employer must pay for transportation and food in adequate conditions.
4. The period during which the adolescent may not work at night is extended to 13 hours, with this limitation governing between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
5. A series of special sanctions are incorporated for employers who fail to comply with any of these limitations.
6. This law will come into force on the first day of the month following the publication of the regulations issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, which determine the activities considered as hazardous work and establish guidelines to avoid this type of work.