The picture of the Brazilian labor market reveals that 998 thousand children are subjected to illegal labor in the country, with 190,000 children up to 13 years of age who could not work under any condition. The data are from 2016 and were released on Wednesday (29th of November) by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
Brazilian law prohibits children under the age of 13 from engaging in any type of work activity, paid or unpaid, regardless of the hours worked. It is only allowed to work starting from the age of 14, but under specific conditions, for example, as a minor apprentice.
According to the National Household Sample Survey (PNAD), 1.8 million children and adolescents with the age of 5 to 17 worked in the country in 2016 with an average weekly workload of 25.3 hours. According to the IBGE, the majority were in illegal conditions.
Majority is not remunerated
According to the IBGE data, of the 190 thousand children submitted to work, only 26% receive some type of remuneration. The average monthly income is R$ 141 for boys and R$ 112 for girls.
The Northeast is the region with the largest share of these children (79 thousand), followed by the North (47 thousand). However, in proportion to the population, the level of child labor is higher (1.5%) in the North than in the Northeast (1%).
Of the total number of children employed in the country, 65.3% are boys and 34.7% are girls. According to the IBGE, the most of the girls are within the age group of 14 to 17 years, and the boys are between 5 and 13 years old.
Work x Education
The research also showed that the work has no significant impact on the schooling rate of children up to 13 years of age. Among those who don’t work, the rate is 98.6%, while among those who are employed the rate is 98.4%. In the age groups of 14 to 15 years and 16 to 17 years, the variation of the educational level is 92.4% and 74.9% among working children and 97.1% and 86.1% among not-working children, respectively.
Agriculture is the sector that most uses child labor
The survey showed that 47.6% of children aged between 5 to 13 years are engaged in agricultural activity; 24.7% in segments such as construction, industry, transportation and services; 21.4% in commerce and 6.3% in domestic services.
According to the research, while 66% of the children aged between 14-17 years are employed, 73% of the children aged between to 13 years are in the category of auxiliary family worker.
The study also looked at children and adolescents who engaged in activities not related to economic production. It was found that 716 thousand minors between 5 and 17 years of age are working on production for their own family consumption. Of these, 91.6% attend school.
Already 20.1 million children perform works related to personal care and household chores. 95.1% are students.
Children in illegal work
According to the PNAD, among the children aged between 14 or 15 years who worked in 2016, 89.5% had no formal contract. There were 196,000 in this condition.
Children aged between 14 and 15 years are only allowed to work in Brazil as an apprentice, whose contract is given by means of a special contract. Regulated by Decree 5,598 of 2005, the apprentice work demands a formal registration in the Work and Social Security Card and obliges the employer to provide technical and professional training. The apprentice must maintain regular attendance at school and may not have a daily workload of more than 8 hours.
Only 29.2% of 16 to 17 years old working children had formal employment records, which, according to IBGE, also characterizes the child labor.
The researcher Flávia Santos also pointed out that there are children working in dangerous and unhealthy conditions, which is also illegal, but research has not been able to investigate this situation.