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Employing under-18s in housework to become illegal

2 years ago

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  • Labour Dept. to amend Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act
  • Hazardous jobs list to be expanded from 51 to 71
BY Pamodi Waravita The Department of Labour has announced that it will be amending the Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act No. 47 of 1956 as amended in order to make the employment of minors, or any person below the age of 18 years, in domestic service a punishable offence. “As per the currently existing provisions in the said Act, any person under 16 years of age is prohibited to be employed in any employment. However, the Act allows for the employment of young persons between the ages of 16 and 18 years in services other than the 51 forms of hazardous jobs stipulated by the regulations under the Act. By this proposed new amendment, it is expected to prohibit the employment of children below 18 years of age in domestic service, services related to the sea or inland waterways, ships, and vessels, and engagement in the performance of work of a dangerous nature including other hazardous forms of jobs and services,” the Labour Department said in a statement to the press. This amendment would be made by increasing the number of forms of hazardous jobs to 71 from the current 51 forms. In January of this year, the minimum age of employment in the country was increased from 14 years of age to 16 years. However, earlier this month, the Police said that investigations have revealed that a girl was brought to the house of parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen in October 2020 as a domestic worker, when she was 15 years and 11 months old. The girl, who had been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital on 3 July with burn injuries, had died on 15 July while receiving treatment, the Borella Police added. Criminal investigations are underway regarding the matter and it has been revealed that 11 children were employed at the said household over the years, brought there by a broker who is suspected to be 64-year-old Ponnaiyah Pandaram, alias Shankar.

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