Section 12 sets out two exceptions to the general rule prohibiting the employment of children under the age of 15: a) where the child works directly under the sole responsibility of his/her parents or legal guardian and where only members of his/her family are employed; and b) where the child is employed in public entertainment through cinema, theater, radio, television or other forms of media.
The penalties for violations of this provision are provided in Section 16(a) and (f): imprisonment of between 6 months and 1 day and 6 years; or a fine of between 50,000-300,000 pesos. Parents found to be in violation of section 12 are subject to a fine ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 pesos, or community service of between 30 days – 1 year. For repeat offenders, the penalty is imprisonment.
In the exceptional cases where children below 15 years of age may be employed, the employer must secure a work permit from the Department of Labor and Employment. Department Advisory No. 01-08, Series of 2008 at Section 3 clarifies that such permit is not required for children aged between 15 and 18 years of age; and no employer may deny employment to such youth merely on the basis of a lack of a work permit. Department Order No.65-04 gives further information on the procedural requirements for issuance of a work permit at sections 8-12 and 22. In particular it is noted that the employer is liable for the application fee of P100 (Section 10) and that a work permit may only be valid for a maximum of 1 year (Section 12).
Section 12. Employment of Children.
Children below fifteen (15) years of age shall not be employed except:
1) When a child works directly under the sole responsibility of his/her parents or legal guardian and where only members of his/her family are employed: Provided, however, That his/her employment neither endangers his/her life, safety, health, and morals, nor impairs his/her normal development: Provided, further, That the parent or legal guardian shall provide the said child with the prescribed primary and/or secondary education; or
2) Where a child’s employment or participation in public entertainment or information through cinema, theater, radio, television or other forms of media is essential: Provided,
That the employment contract is concluded by the child’s parents or legal guardian, with the express agreement of the child concerned, if possible, and the approval of the Department of Labor and Employment: Provided, further,
That the following requirements in all instances are strictly complied with:
(a) The employer shall ensure the protection, health, safety, morals and normal development of the child;
(b) The employer shall institute measures to prevent the child’s exploitation or discrimination taking into account the system and level of remuneration, and the duration and arrangement of working time; and
(c) The employer shall formulate and implement, subject to the approval and supervision of competent authorities, a continuing program for training and skills acquisition of the child.
In the above-exceptional cases where any such child may be employed, the employer shall first secure, before engaging such child, a work permit from the Department of Labor and Employment which shall ensure observance of the above requirements.
For purposes of this Article, the term “”child”” shall apply to all persons under eighteen (18) years of age.”
Law / Philippines / Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act (1992)
The Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act expressly prohibits the worst forms of child labour, including all forms of slavery and trafficking of children, debt bondage, serfdom and forced labor. The Act further establishes the joint liability of the principal for the employment of children in the worst forms of child labour or in hazarduous work by a subcontractor, and determines a penalty of 12 to 20 years imprisonment or a fine ranging from 100,000 to 1 million pesos, or both. The Act was amended in 2003 by Republic Act No. 9231, Providing for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Affording Stronger Protection for the Working Child, which mandates the Government to protect and remove children from the worst forms of child labor, including forced labor, child trafficking, prostitution, pornography and the use of a child for illicit activities.