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Minimum age for formal employment is 15 years – Labour Ministry

Friday, August 16, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is advising that the minimum age that a child can be admitted into formal employment is 15 years old, if he or she has completed secondary education.

According to, Sasha Deer-Gordon, a director in the Ministry, the line of work must not be hazardous and it must also allow time for leisure, which is very important for child development.

Leisure is a basic right, according to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Child Care and Protection Act, stipulates that no child below the age of 13 years should be engaged in work for any economic gain and a child of 13 to 14 years of age who engages in light work, may work a maximum of four hours per day, and not exceeding 14 hours per week.

Deer-Gordon said that according to findings from a study conducted by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) in 2016, approximately 38,000 Jamaican children are engaged in child labour, and of this number, 18,000 are between five and 12 years old.

She explained that child labour is any type of work which is physically, socially, morally, mentally and spiritually dangerous to a child.

“It can be described as any work that prevents a child from going to school to get an education, and any type of work that affects their mental and physical development,” she said.

Deer-Gordon added that the Ministry, with assistance from the Country Level Engagement and Assistance to Reduce (CLEAR II) Child Labour Project, has finalised a light work and a hazardous work list to be used as a guide for jobs in which children can engage.

To report cases of child labour, persons can call 888-PROTECT (776-8328) or the Ministry's Child Labour Unit at 876-948-0098. For additional information, persons may call the Ministry of Labour and Social Security at 876-948-0098 or emailsasha.gordon@mlss.gov.jm.


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