Effective as of June 13 2015, the minimum age to work in Mexico under the Federal Labour Law is 15 years.

The Federal Labour Law is now aligned with both the Constitution – which was already amended in this regard on June 17 2014 to reinforce the protection of human rights and prevent child labour – and the International Labour Organisation Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment 138. Mexico ratified this convention on June 10 2015, but it will not enter into force until June 10 2016.

The amendments to the Federal Labour Law include new rules governing the work of minors, which apply to workers under 18 years of age.

One of the most significant rules is the prohibition against overtime work, work on Sundays and mandatory holidays, and work after 10:00pm for minors.

Likewise, minors are prohibited from working – even within their family circle – in any kind of activity that may endanger their health, safety or morality, or that affects the exercise of their rights and their integral development.

For minors performing any productive activity for self-consumption under the direction of a relative (ie, within the family circle), the relative will be obliged to respect and protect the human rights of the minor and offer support and necessary facilities to help him or her to achieve the legally required basic level of education.

Further, workers over 15 but under 18 years of age must obtain a medical certificate that demonstrates their fitness to work and undergo the medical examinations that are periodically required by the labour authorities. Employers will be unable to hire such minors if they do not meet this requirement.

Employers that hire minors are obliged to establish a special register which indicates:

  • the full name, date of birth and age of the minor;
  • the type of work performed by the minor; and
  • the minor's work schedule, salary and other general working conditions, including any training that the minor has received.

This register must be made available to the labour authorities when so required.

Minors are entitled to at least 18 days of annual paid vacation.

Finally, workers over 15 years of age can now become trade union members and act as union officials.

Although Mexico's legal framework now protects minors, the effective abolition of child labour is far from a reality, especially in the informal economy.

For further information on this topic please contact Nadia Gonzalez Elizondo at Santamarina y Steta by telephone (+52 81 8133 6007) or email (ngonzalez@s-s.mx). The Santamarina y Steta website can be accessed at www.s-s.mx.

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