Category Archives: Employment

Issues in Mongolia Employment: Employment of Minors

Foreign companies operating in Mongolia are sometime surprised regarding local laws on employment of minors. In Mongolia, employment of minors, is legally acceptable under limited circumstances and with high protections required in favor of the young employees.

There are a number of legislations regulating the child employment In Mongolia. There is the Labour Law, as well as The Law on Protection of Child Rights, and the relevant international conventions. Mongolia was one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990. Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) were also ratified by Mongolia.

In Mongolia, a person at the age of 16 is allowed to enter into an Employment Agreement.  In addition, a person of age 14-15 years of age may be hired under the consent of the parents or guardians for the purpose of acquiring vocational training or work experience.

However, minors are allowed to be hired only in approved sectors. The Minister in charge of labour issues recently renewed the list of positions at which minors not allow to be employed, namely alcohol, tobacco related, plastics industry, construction, hotel, nightclub, bar, casino gambling, entertainment venue and generally jobs with hazardous labour conditions.

Horse racing, a traditional Mongolian sport, often sees children as young as five riding horses in the races. The children train the horses at even younger ages. Such activities have come under criticism by international child protection organizations for being a hazardous activity for these children, but due to the traditional nature of the sport, it is not likely that it will be restricted.

The employer of a minor is obligated to protect the health of minor employees by providing a medical examination twice a year. Furthermore, it is prohibited to require the minor employees to carry or lift load exceeded the permitted amount, and to work overtime, on public holidays or weekends. Violations may result in fines to the employer in addition to a requirement to compensate the young employee for with.

Mongolian Employers Face Fines for Violation of Employee Rights to Unionize

We continue our series on the fundamental principles of labor law and the rights of the worker in Mongolia. As explained in a previous post, Mongolia became a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 1969. This membership means Mongolia embraces the fundamental principles embodied in the ILO Constitution and the Declaration of Philadelphia, including the principle of freedom of association.

Ensuring the freedom of association and of collective bargaining is a fundamental principle recognized by Mongolia through the ratification of the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948 (No. 87), and the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98) in 1969.

Article 16 of the Constitution of Mongolia guarantees citizens freedom of thought, speech and expression, the right to favorable working conditions, to form a party, association or other public organization on the basis of social and personal interests and opinion, and to hold peaceful assembly. Furthermore, the discrimination and persecution of a person for joining a political party or other associations or for being their member is prohibited under Mongolian legislation.

The Labour Law (1999) sets out relations to be regulated by collective agreement and collective bargaining agreement, who may participate in them, how they shall be conducted and regulations on strike action etc. The Law on the Rights of Trade Unions (1991) deals with forming and joining unions, and prohibits discrimination due to union membership or non-membership. It also sets out the rights of unions and lays out measures to prevent employers’ interference with union activities.

Mongolian legislation provides for the right of employees to form and join organizations of their own choosing and enshrines the right of these organizations to freely organize their activities and formulate their programmes. Free and voluntary negotiation is promoted at all levels between employers or employers’ organizations without the intervention of the public authorities.

The Labor Law prohibits organizing a strike involving employees of organizations responsible for national defense, national security and public order. Public servants in general are entitled to join in unions, but banned from participating in strike action under the Law on Public Service (2002).

In recent years, labour disputes in related to the breach of freedom of association and collective bargaining have been increasing in the mining, industrial and construction sectors in Mongolia. There have been cases in which employees which are terminated due to organizing a trade union or being a member of trade union organize a strike to force collective bargaining.

A company taking action against employees or labour unions, or otherwise in breach of the freedom of association and collective bargaining face Sanctions. Penalties have increased under the newly adopted Law on Infringement and employers risk fines up to MNT 500,000 for violations.

Mongolia Employees and Employers: Know Your Rights

Mongolia has been a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) since 1968 and has ratified 20 international conventions of the ILO, including all eight Fundamental Conventions, 2 of the 4 Governance Conventions, and 10 of 77 total Technical Conventions. Of the 20 Conventions ratified by Mongolia, 19 remain in force while 1 has been rescinded.

Through its ratification of all eight of the ILO’s fundamental conventions, Mongolia has recognized the following four fundamental principles and rights of the worker:

  • Ensuring freedom of association:
  • Eliminating child labour
  • Abolishing forced labour
  • Prohibiting non-discrimination in employment.

Recently, Mongolia hosted a National Workshop on International Labour Standards for members of the judiciary and lawyers. The workshop focused on application of labor rules by the courts domestic courts, and was organized in cooperation with the Mongolian Bar Association, the International Training Center of ILO and the ILO Country office for China and Mongolia (CO-Beijing).

Judges, attorneys and government officers participated in the training for 5 days. The training consisted of review of the ILO and international labour standards system, the use of the work of ILO’s supervisory bodies; and discussions as to when and how domestic judges and lawyers can use international labour law to effectively resolve labour disputes. Of key importance was ensuring the relevance of international labour standards in key situations with widespread practical application.

The workshop found that in practice, the international labour standards set out in the various conventions were not widely referred to or implemented by Mongolian lawyers and courts. This is determined to be primarily due to lack of knowledge of many of these professionals as to Mongolia’s ratification of these conventions, and the fact that due to inadequate translation into Mongolian, many professionals were not certain of the actual contents of the conventions.

The workshop focused on the importance training in strengthen participants’ knowledge and skill to effectively utilize these international labour sources to resolve employment and labor issues within Mongolia.  All participants noted that these international labour standards may be used directly to resolve the labour disputes or to interpret a relevant domestic provision to fill a gap and resolve ambiguities in the domestic law.

Proper awareness of and application of these international standards are vital for both Mongolian employees and expatriates working in Mongolia. Expatriate employees in Mongolia are granted equal  legal rights and protections, and should never feel their foreign employer has the upper-hand in cases of unfair termination or discrimination in Mongolia.