Minimum age for formal employment is 15 years – Labour Ministry

Latest News

Minimum age for formal employment is 15 years – Labour Ministry

Friday, August 16, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!

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

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon