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The right to rest for young people in Italy

RAISE

According to Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, "States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts".

This is true, or at least should be true, for both young students and young workers.

The students

A 2014 OECD report has demonstrated that Italian students are the ones who spend the most time studying among children in developed countries: they spend on average
nearly 9 hours a week doing homework and studying, compared to an OECD average of 4.9 hours.

This supremacy, however, has not led Italian students to shine in European or world rankings for the skills they have acquired; on the contrary, it has led them to gradually lose interest in activities that are just as formative and educational. Overburdened by assessments, tests and homework, Italian children and adolescents forget to devote time to self-care, turning into increasingly tired and unmotivated students, and to cultivate their passions or, even worse, end up having no passion at all. It is necessary to rethink school teaching in a completely innovative way, pursuing the objective of integrating the educational action of the school with the contributions of the formative action of the family community and of the contacts that this can encourage in extracurricular activities with the world of nature, art, sport and with the free activities of organized youth groups.

The workers

In Italy a minor, whether an Italian citizen or a foreigner, can work, as a rule, only if he or she has reached the age of 16 and has fulfilled the so-called educational obligation. However, it is possible to carry out some small work activities before the age of 16 of a cultural, artistic, sporting, advertising and similar nature, but only with the authorization of the Territorial Labour Inspectorate. The performance of such activities must always take place while guaranteeing the school attendance of the minor and his/her psycho-physical integrity.

Having said this, it is important, for the purposes of this paper, to underline that minors who meet the twofold requirement imposed by the law - having reached the age of 16 and having fulfilled their educational obligation - and who intend to enter the workforce, are subject to special protection rules concerning, specifically, working hours, as well as the type of activity they can carry out, their remuneration and the documents required to stipulate the contract.

Minors, in fact, cannot work at night, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. or between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. In some sectors, such as the cultural sector (festivals, conventions, shows), the artistic sector (exhibitions, installations, plays and performances) and the sports sector, it is permitted to work until midnight, but must compulsorily rest for at least 14 consecutive hours. There is an exception to the ban on night work for exceptional and temporary cases: in such cases, the minor worker may work for the time strictly necessary and the employer must make a communication to the Territorial Labour Inspectorate indicating the cause of force majeure, the time of employment and the name of the minor. In doing so, the worker acquires the right to obtain an appropriately paid rest period within the next three weeks.

In general, minors can work a maximum of 8 hours a day, for a total of 40 hours a week, and a maximum of 4 and a half consecutive hours (3 hours for so-called "heavy" work), which must be followed by a break of at least 1 hour (so-called "intermediate rest"). In addition, the employee must be granted a weekly rest period of at least two days, preferably consecutive, one of which must be Sunday.


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  • L'Autore

    Rebecca Scaglia

    Studentessa di Giurisprudenza al terzo anno, aspirante avvocato. Interessata alla tutela e difesa dei diritti della persona umana. Pienamente convinta che ognuno di noi abbia un grande potere, ossia di saper fare la differenza.

    Third year law student, aspiring lawyer. Interesed in protection of human rights. Fully convinced that everyone has a strong power, which is to know how to make the difference.

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