Companies are exposing more young children due to a tight labor market

On Jumbo’s website, you can use a calculation module to calculate exactly what you want to earn as a 13-year-old in the supermarket. ‘Make good money’, it sounds attractive. For 13- and 14-year-olds, the salary is the same as for a 15-year-old: 4.86 euros per hour including holiday pay.

In the amusement park

Jumbo is not the only supermarket actively seeking children for jobs of up to 10 hours a week. Albert Heijn and Coop, among others, also like to spend their teenagers on a salary of just under five euros. And it is also happening in other sectors where a lot of part-time work can be found.

For example, the amusement park Julianatoren in Apeldoorn is increasingly working with young children. “We now have forty children aged 13-14-15 working here,” says director Jeroen Buter. “It used to start at the age of 15.16. Now we recruit a lot among 13- and 14-year-olds. It has really moved on.”

The use of children is permitted by law only to a limited extent. On non-school days, this is allowed for a maximum of 7 hours per. Children aged 13 and 14 are not allowed to work on Sundays; 15-year-olds only if they do not work the Saturday before (and vice versa)

clean up the mess

Children aged 13 and 14 may work a maximum of 12 hours per week and 35 hours per week for a maximum of 4 weeks per year. In addition, children are only allowed to perform light non-industrial work, such as filling shelves in the supermarket, packing or helping out at a riding school or on a campsite.

“We use them at the entrance or other places where visitors are often referred,” Buter explains. But they also clean up, clear hills and replenish attractions.

Recruitment agency Young Capital says it also mediates on the website for work for 13-year-olds. Currently, there is work as a brochure distributor, as a ‘whizkid’, helping the elderly with computer problems, and with chores and childcare work.

Asked by RTL how many children have been sent through them, the spokesman weakens recruitment: “We have offered this in the past, but practice has shown that this group of young people often work without the intervention of a temporary employment agency.”

the gems

Director Buter for Julianatoren says that he only recruits the young people himself.

“In ads, we now focus more specifically on the 13-year-olds. We hand out flyers at schools and in the city. And we do that a lot more these days.” The younger involved in the business, the better, Buter says. “We also like to bring people in at a young age. Sometimes there are the gems among them. And they often stay with us for many years.”

Competition for the brochure distributors

The advertising brochure delivery company Spotta has used 13- and 14-year-olds for decades, says director Yme Pasma.

“There are almost ten thousand children of that age who provide us with promotional material or door-to-door newspapers. That’s 40 percent of our people.”

For a long time, delivering flyers was the most popular job that children under the age of 16 could get as part-time jobs. “But we have recently noticed that the pressure on this age category has increased. Supermarkets are also increasingly following suit.”

Beware of child labor

Companies need to be careful when deploying these young children, explains labor market professor Ton Wilthagen from Tilburg University.

“They are not supposed to really start working. It quickly becomes child labor. And the danger lies in that because there is a shortage among the older staff, yet more and more tasks are moving to the young. The young people’s occupations are increasing . “


Jumbo will not disclose how many 13- and 14-year-olds work in the company. A spokesman only says that Jumbo is always looking for new, enthusiastic colleagues. “Young people aged 13-14 are also very welcome to take on the role of warehouse filler. Of course, we always comply with the applicable laws and regulations.”

Albert Heijn says that it recruits these teenagers through posters and that it has succeeded in filling the vacancies. The company’s spokesperson does not know how many children work in the supermarket chain.

Coop has been contacted for comment but has not yet responded.

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