Labour ministry to publish work list to protect children

Friday, July 12, 2019

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LABOUR Minister Shahine Robinson says the Light and Hazardous Work List, outlining specific activities that children are restricted from participating in, will be published shortly.

Speaking at the closing ceremony for the Country Level Engagement and Assistance to Reduce Child Labour (CLEAR II) Project, on Wednesday, Robinson said the list is to be appended to the Occupational Safety and Health Bill and the Child Care and Protection Act.

“This will provide guidelines to parents and employers as to the types of work that children can do, the hours they are permitted to work and the hazardous work they are not allowed to perform,” she informed.

Additionally, she said the ministry will be forming a sub-committee to review and issue drafting instructions to make changes to the Child Care and Protection Act, as well as conduct training of new and existing officers on child labour identification and investigation, to ensure that all stakeholders — judges, police officers, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security's inspectorates — are kept up to date on the procedures to be followed when handling child labour cases.

“A road map was developed under the CLEAR II Project and this outlines the process, including but not limited to the identification, removal, provision of support and reintegration of child labour victims through the prosecution of perpetrators,” she said.

The road map will be circulated to ministries, departments, agencies, civil society and non-governmental organisations that provide support to children.

Another outcome of the project was the development of a National Action Plan, which Robinson said was formulated following consultations with key stakeholders across the island.

“During these consultation sessions, we were able to identify some of the main causes for child labour in Jamaica. As a result, the solutions were designed to address some of these challenges. The ministry is fully committed to implementing these solutions, and I strongly believe that their implementation will play a pivotal role in our fight to rid Jamaica of the scourge of child labour.”

CLEAR II was undertaken by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, in collaboration with non-profit organisations Winrock International and Lawyers without Borders.

Under the project, technical assistance was provided to the ministry's Occupational Health and Safety Department and the Child Labour Unit to review and finalise regulations pertaining to child labour, including light work and hazardous work lists, under the Occupational Safety and Health Bill.

Another objective under the project was the strengthening of legislation that addresses child labour issues, including bringing national laws into compliance with international standards; improving monitoring and enforcement of laws and policies related to child labour; and ensuring effective implementation of national plans of action on child labour.

The project was funded by the United States Department of Labour, under a cooperative agreement with Winrock International.

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