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Review of Child Labour Laws of Barbados

ILO Convention No. 138 and Recommendation No.190 exceptionally allow young persons over 16 years of age to undertake hazardous work in certain restricted conditions under specified protective mechanisms. Article 3 (3) provides that national laws or regulations or the competent authority may, after consultation with the organizations of employers and workers concerned, authorize employment or work as from the age of 16 years on condition that the health, safety and morals of the young persons concerned are fully protected and that the young persons have received adequate specific instruction or vocational training in the relevant branch of activity.

ILO Convention No. 138 also provides for employers to maintain a register of employees under the age of 18 with information on their date of birth and date of appointment and date of termination of appointment. This register should be open to inspection by the competent authority.

2.3.7 Exclusions

ILO Convention No. 138 provides several flexibility provisions. Apart from the exception for light work and artistic performances, it permits, after consultation with the social partners, the exclusion of limited categories of work for which special and substantial problems may arise. However, work that is likely to jeopardize the health, safety or morals of young persons may not be excluded. Moreover, States must review excluded categories on an ongoing basis and make progress towards eliminating the special and substantial problems, which make broad application difficult.

This flexibility provision applies to developing countries. Article 5 provides that a country whose economy and administrative facilities are insufficiently developed may initially limit the scope of application of the Convention to certain branches of economic activity or types of enterprises. The following sectors, however, are excluded from exemption:

  • mining and quarrying;

  • manufacturing;

  • construction;

  • electricity, gas and water;

  • sanitary services;

  • transport, storage and communication;

  • plantations and other agricultural undertakings mainly producing for commercial


Countries limiting application initially are still to report on child work in excluded categories and on their progress towards achieving broader coverage of the requirements of the Convention. This Article could only be invoked at the time of ratification. The Convention in Article 6 also excludes work done by children and young persons in schools for general, vocational or technical education or in other training institutions, or work done by persons at least 14 years of age in undertakings, where such work is


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