At what age can you start working?

When is it possible to make a contract with a minor? What kind of relationship can be established? What activities can they not perform?

The world of work is full of clichés, especially when it comes to young people. Since the late Minister of Economy Tommaso Padoa Schioppa unhappily coined the term “bamboccioni” in 2007, a neologism that officially entered the vocabulary of the Italian language, children are often labeled as listless, without stimuli, eager only for comfort and social networks, of fun for its own sake. And perhaps, in part, it is so. Breaking, however, a lance in favor of those who seriously commit themselves at school and university, because they want to do something beautiful and concrete in life, it is appropriate to reverse the situation and ask: what does the world of work offer them? Who, out of necessity or personal need, wants to get busy quickly finds a law that allows him to leave school and earn some money? Or you will hear that first you have to come of age, then get some free experience, then the internship and then recommend yourself to some saint in Heaven.? At what age can you start working? But to work in the sense of no longer having to ask dad and mom for money to go out for an aperitif with friends?

Moreover, given the trend, having a paycheck early means having contributions paid at a young age, that is to start that long countdown that leads to retirement as soon as possible and that the generation of those who saw the first paycheck at 28-30 years , after university, masters and various jobs he sees as an unattainable goal. Let’s see a what age can you start working According to the law.

Who is the minor for the world of work?

To the question “who should be considered a minor?”, Anyone would answer: “Who has not turned 18”. The law governing the child laborinstead, he would reply: “It depends.” Because the legislation makes a distinction not only between adults and minors but also between those who have not yet blown out the fateful 18 candles.

In practice, according to the law, there are two categories of minors and belonging to one or the other has direct consequences on the activities that can be carried out. There is, therefore, a distinction between:

  • the baby, that is, those who are under 15 years of age or who, even if they have already turned 15, are still subject to compulsory schooling. It can carry out activities of a cultural, artistic, sports, advertising or entertainment sector;
  • L’teenager, i.e. the minor aged 15 to 17 who is no longer subject to compulsory education. In general, he can carry out any type of activity, with some exceptions provided for by the law for his protection.

It should be noted that compulsory education it has a duration of at least 10 years, begins between 5/6 years of age and is aimed at obtaining an upper secondary school qualification or a professional qualification lasting at least three years.

The following remain excluded from the discipline of child labor:

  • the domestic services lent in the family (you should not hire a child to ask him to clean his room frequently or to mow the grass once a week, in short);
  • the performance of work that is neither harmful, nor prejudicial, nor dangerous in the family businesses.

When can the minor enter the world of work?

On a legal level, the underage he does not have the capacity to act: he has to wait until the age of 18. But the ability to work he has it all right: for that you don’t have to wait until you are old enough to vote or get your driver’s license.

The minor can be admitted to work under these two conditions:

  • who has completed i 16 years: for the fifteen there is an exception but only if a particular contract applies to them apprenticeship;
  • that he has acquitted compulsory schoolingin the terms we mentioned earlier.

Therefore, the young person who has reached the age of 16 and has behind him can aspire to have a fixed-term or permanent contract:

  • five years of primary school, i.e. studies completed from 6 to 11 years;
  • three years of lower secondary school (the one-time averages) from 11 to 14 years;
  • one year of high school (he ends it at 15);
  • one year of apprenticeship or the second year of high school.

Where the minor cannot work

Let’s go back to the distinction that the law makes between minors. We have said that up to the age of 14 you remain children (but only for the world of work, today’s parents know that their children, at that age, are already in full adolescence). The law provides that anyone under the age of 15 can only carry out a cultural, sporting, artistic or advertising activity as a job. In short, he can act in a film or in the theater, play competitive sport in a team, be the protagonist of an advertising spot (as many as you see on TV), he can sing or participate in any show that does not involve a risk to his psycho-physical health.

All other sectors are forbidden to children from a working point of view.

From the age of 15 onwards, we change. You can work in any sector, even if there are exceptions, indeed: the list is long.

On the one hand, tasks that expose the child to certain are prohibited agents at risk. Agents, for example, of type physicist how:

  • higher than natural pressure atmosphere, e.g. in pressurized containers, submarine immersion;
  • noise with an average daily exposure greater than 90 decibels LEP-d.

Or type chemistsuch as substances and mixtures classified in one or more of the following hazard classes and hazard categories with one or more of the following hazard statements:

  • acute toxicity, categories 1, 2 or 3;
  • skin corrosion, categories 1A, 1B or 1C;
  • flammable gas, categories 1 or 2;
  • flammable aerosols, category 1;
  • flammable liquid, categories 1 or 2;
  • explosives, category “unstable explosives”, or explosives of divisions 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5;
  • self-reactive substances and mixtures, type A, B, C or D;
  • organic peroxides, type A or B;
  • specific target organ toxicity after single exposure, categories 1 or 2;
  • specific target organ toxicity after repeated exposure, categories 1 or 2;
  • respiratory sensitization, category 1, sub-categories 1A or 1B;
  • skin sensitization, category 1, sub-categories 1A or 1B;
  • carcinogenicity, categories 1A, 1B or 2;
  • germ cell mutagenicity, categories 1A, 1B or 2;
  • reproductive toxicity, categories 1A or 1B;
  • substances and mixtures classified as carcinogens and mutagens;
  • asbestos
  • lead and compounds;

It is also forbidden to use a minor a processes and works:

  • of the production of auramine with the Michler method;
  • which expose to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons present in soot, tar or coal pitch;
  • which expose to the dust, fumes and mists produced during nickel refining at elevated temperatures;
  • to strong acids in the manufacture of isopropyl alcohol
  • involving exposure to hardwood dust;
  • manufacturing and handling of devices, devices and miscellaneous items containing explosives;
  • in menageries containing ferocious or poisonous animals as well as the conduct and governance of bulls and stallions;
  • of slaughterhouse;
  • involving the handling of equipment for the production, storage or use of compressed, liquid or solution gases;
  • on vats, basins, tanks, demijohns or cylinders containing some chemical agents;
  • involving the risk of collapses and setting up and dismantling of the reinforcement external to the buildings;
  • involving high voltage electrical hazards;
  • whose rate is determined by the machine and which are paid by the piece;
  • for the operation of furnaces at temperatures above 500 ° C, such as those for the production of cast iron, ferroalloys, iron or steel; operations of demolition, reconstruction and repair of the same; work at the rolling mills;
  • in foundries;
  • electrolytic;
  • for the production of ferrous and non-ferrous metals and their alloys;
  • sulfur production and processing;
  • excavation, including grubbing up of the material, placement and disassembly of reinforcements, management and maneuvering of mechanical means, cutting of boulders;
  • in tunnels, quarries, mines, peat bogs and mining industries in general;
  • minerals and rocks, limited to the phases of cutting, crushing, pulverization, dry screening of powdery products;
  • tobaccos;
  • construction, transformation, repair, maintenance and demolition of ships, excluding workshop works carried out in the land departments;
  • for the production of ventilated lime;
  • which expose silicotigen to risk;
  • maneuvering of mechanical traction lifting equipment, with the exception of lifts and hoists;
  • in wells, cisterns and similar environments;
  • in cold stores;
  • processing, manufacturing and handling involving exposure to pharmaceuticals;
  • driving of transport vehicles (with the exception of mopeds and motor vehicles up to 125 cc.) and self-propelled machinery with mechanical propulsion as well as cleaning and servicing of engines and transmission components that are in motion;
  • spray metallization;
  • of binding and felling of trees;
  • cleaning of chimneys and hearths in combustion plants;
  • opening, beating, carding and cleaning of textile fibers, vegetable and animal hair, feathers and hair;
  • production and processing of mineral and artificial fibers;
  • sorting and shredding of rags and used paper without the use of adequate personal protective equipment;
  • with uses of pneumatic hammers, grinding wheels with flexible shaft and other vibrating tools; use of high power nail guns;
  • for the production of metal powders;
  • welding and cutting of metals with an electric arc or with a blowtorch or oxyacetylene flame;
  • in butchers that involve the use of cutting tools, saws and mincing machines.

Which employment contract for minors?

To the minors which can play a work not forbidden for them age o because it falls into the categories listed above, the following contracts may apply:

  • indefinitely;
  • Temporary;
  • part time;
  • intermittent work;
  • at home: the regulations on child labor apply only for the suitability of the working conditions, the obligation of a pre-employment and periodic medical examination and the prohibition to have heavy or harmful work carried out;
  • of enrollment, provided that the minor is 16 years old;
  • apprenticeship, from 15 years of age onwards;
  • of training and orientation internship, after the fulfillment of compulsory schooling.


At what age can you start working?