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Review of Child Labour Laws of Barbados

4.4 Enforcement

ILO Convention No. 138 provides that all necessary measures must be taken by member States to ensure the effective enforcement of the provisions of the Convention. Minimum age provisions should be enforced through sanctions. The legislation should:

  • provide for penalties and other necessary measures for violations of child labour provisions (Article 9 (1);

  • ensure that the law provides for sanctions for all persons responsible for under- age employment (e.g. employers, parents, guardians, etc.)

  • ensure that sanctions are sufficiently deterrent;

  • diversify sanctions between criminal, civil and administrative sanctions;

  • diversify sanctions as a function of the seriousness of the offence, e.g. heavier sanctions for the employment of children in hazardous than in non-hazardous work, heavier sanctions for repeat offenders;

  • facilitate the access of children to legal remedies, e.g. by ensuring that children can join trade unions as soon as they are admitted to work, or by guaranteeing legal standing for trade unions (or other civil society organizations concerned with child labour) to represent children in law;

  • ensure that laws do not subject children themselves to penalties for engaging in under-age work even if it is illegal.

Sanctions There are legal sanctions in Barbados on employers and others responsible for child labour violations. The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act provides in Section 15 that an employer who employs any person in contravention of this Act is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months or both.

Section 16: If the employer had used due diligence to comply with the Act and that some other person had committed the offence without the knowledge, consent or connivance of the employer, then that other person may be convicted and the employer acquitted.

Section 18: Where on information of a member of the Police Force, the Port Manager or the Chief Labour Officer it appears to any Justice of the Peace that there is reasonable cause to believe that a child is employed in any place contrary to the Act, such Justice of the Peace may authorize any member of the Police Force to enter that place at any reasonable time within forty-eight hours and examine such place and any person therein concerning the employment of any child therein. Any person who assaults, obstructs or intimidates, uses indecent, abusive or insulting language; interferes with, hinders or refuses to admit; or by any gratuity, bribe, promise or other inducement prevents or attempts to prevent from entering such place and examining that person therein a member of the Police Force is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months or both.


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