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Review of Child Labour Laws of Barbados

and collective tasks of seeking to abolish child labour. It should also facilitate an integrated and coordinated approach by all agencies in the implementation of their work programmes. Each agency will identify the connection of their work with the work of other agencies. Moreover, a policy framework will also serve to guide the administration of the laws on child labour.

Barbados may also wish to consider whether the Committee considering the formulation of policies on child labour should be a sub-Committee of a National Committee on Children. Thus, the policies would be considered within a broader policy, administrative and institutional context that seeks to connect all programmes and institutions promoting the protection of the rights of the child. This would facilitate an integrated and coordinated approach by all agencies in the implementation of their work programmes.

Legal Framework

Minimum Age for Employment

Barbados, after consultation with the social partners, has determined a minimum age for admission to employment or work at age 16, which is the compulsory age for the completion of schooling in Barbados. Barbados is to be commended for using the optimal age and not availing itself of the special dispensation of a lower minimum age offered to developing countries.

However, it should be noted that Barbados’ minimum age is too limited and does not fully meet the objective of the ILO Convention No. 138. It is restricted to employment in industrial undertakings and ships, which accounts for about 20% of employed labour.

It is recommended that, to fully comply with ILO Convention No. 138, the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act needs to be amended to provide that as a general principle, the minimum age for admission to employment in all undertakings should be 16 years of age.

Light Work

The Government of Barbados did not make any declaration on ratification of Convention No.138 regarding any exception from the minimum age for light work. However, its laws permit work from age 14 for all areas of the economy except the industrial sector and on ships. This exception to the minimum age for employment is not characterized as light work. It is recommended that the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act be amended to make provision for a limited duration 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 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


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