Minimum working age increased to 16 | Daily News


Minimum working age increased to 16

Employment and Labour relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena speaking on the World Day Against Child Labour announced that Cabinet approval has been granted to increase the minimum working age from 14 to 16 years.

Speaking at a media briefing he said that under Section 47 of the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children’s’ Act, it is considered an offense to employ persons under the age of 14. This the Minister said will be increased to 16 years. According to the ILO, in 2016 Sri Lanka had 103,704 working children. Of the children working, 39,007 are engaged in hazardous forms of child labour.

It is reported that in Sri Lanka, working children are employed mainly in the fishing sector, to feed themselves and their family. They belong to fishing folk families and tend not to want to go to school, nor do they have another trade in mind.

According to the ILO, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in child labour.

“As economic contraction reduces opportunities in the labour market for parents, it can push their children into hazardous and exploitative work,” reads an ILO report.

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