Under Colombian labor legislation the general rule is that child labor is prohibited. However, children under 15 years old may be authorized by the Ministry of Labor to work on artistically, cultural, recreational and athletic activities that do not exceed 14 hours per week.

Additionally, teenagers between 15 and 17 years may work with an authorization issued by the Ministry of Labor.

Please note that teenagers between 15 and 17 years old who have obtained a degree as technicians by the National Apprenticeship Services (“Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje” -SENA-), or institutions duly accredited to provide technical training, may be authorized to work on the activity in which they were trained. In such cases, an authorization from the Ministry of Labor would also be required.

Employers must keep a record of the children and teenagers that have been authorized to work.

The fact is that according to Resolution 03597 of October, 2013, the Ministry of Labor aimed at ensuring decent and improved working conditions for teenagers, has updated the activities that must be considered as the worst working conditions for child labor and also has classified dangerous activities and harmful working conditions -physically and psychologically- for people under 18 years old

Such resolution makes reference to the ILO Convention 182 ratified by Law 704, 2001 which prohibits slavery, prostitution, drug trafficking and all related activities that can affect the health, security or morality of children and teenagers. According to those provisions, in case a person uses children or teenagers to develop the activities previously mentioned that behavior will be penalized.

To conclude, Colombia is strongly committed with the protection of children and teenagers by preventing all possible conducts that may affect their moral and physical integrity and by procuring better working conditions.

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