Review of Child Labour Laws of Barbados
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.
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 BEC and CTUSAB, and impose such conditions to ensure that the welfare of the child is guaranteed similar to what obtains in the Bahamas.
Barbados’ laws, which seek to protect young persons from hazardous work, are limited to industrial undertakings and ships. Moreover its determination of activities deemed to be hazardous work is 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 BEC and CTUSAB must determine all types of employment or work that is considered to be hazardous for young persons bearing in mind the Recommendation 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.
In addition, 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.
Unconditional Worst Forms of Child Labour
There are laws in Barbados which outlaw most activities involved in the worst forms of child labour. However, these laws are not characterized as child labour but as criminal offences and there are some deficiencies and gap. There is no specific offence of child trafficking, and the upper age limit for some offences under the Offences against the Persons Act and the Sexual Offences Act is below the age of 18 years. It is recommended that Barbados enact a legal framework specifically for the purpose of addressing the unconditional worst forms of child labour.