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Review of Child Labour Laws of Barbados

characterized as light work. It is recommended that the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act be amended to make provision for children to be engaged in light work in certain restricted undertakings to be determined by the competent authority after consultations with the representative organizations of employers and workers.

In this regard, Barbados may wish to consider the good practice of the Commonwealth of Bahamas whose minimum age for admission to employment or work applies to all undertakings except four activities. Moreover, these exceptions are applicable for a limited duration of five years from 2001 and will expire in the year 2006.

In addition, Barbados may also consider the adoption of a legal provision, similar to the Bahamas, on the prohibition of employment during school hours. The Barbados law limits the prohibition of employment to children and young persons of compulsory school age during school hours. Therefore school children beyond the compulsory school age are not legally prohibited from working during school hours. The Bahamas law is applicable to all children and young person attending school regardless of whether they are of compulsory school age.

Artistic Performances

There is no legislative provision or policy in Barbados to give effect to the requirements of ILO Convention No. 138 regarding the engagement of children in artistic performances. Barbados may wish to consider an amendment to the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Act to allow for the person seeking to engage the services of the child performer to obtain a permit from the Chief Labour Officer, who shall be required to consult with the representative organizations of employers and workers, and impose such conditions to ensure that the welfare of the child is guaranteed similar to what obtains in the Bahamas.

Hazardous Work

Barbados’ laws, which identify activities deemed to be hazardous work, are limited to certain processes in factories. It is submitted that this categorization of hazardous work is too limited and inadequate for the requirements of the ILO Conventions. The competent authority, in consultation with the representative organizations of employers and workers, must determine all types of employment or work that is considered to be hazardous for young persons bearing in mind the ILO Recommendation No. 190. There is need for a more comprehensive framework for health and safety of young persons throughout the economy, which should cover all sectors of the economy.

The laws provide a broad coverage of sanctions. However, having regard to the fact that the quantum of fines was determined over two decades ago, the Government of Barbados may wish to review the fines to bring them in line with the deterrent principle mentioned in the ILO Conventions.


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