ILO: PNG lacks complete laws on child labour

Papua New Guinea lacks comprehensive legislation to deal with child labour issues, a workshop has been told.

News | 22 April 2013
Richard Samuel, the International Labour Organisation PNG national coordinator, said this had been the case since independence. He was speaking at a workshop on “Child labour and common rule roadshow” in Lae.

He said the Employment Act (1978) had a section which dealt only with the minimum age of children required for employment. “Issues like the type of work children do, their safety and workplace hazards needed to be looked at,” Samuel said. “We are conducting this workshop purposely for this.

“We want to get the views of the different stakeholders on how they want the issues addressed.” He said they would visit the four regions to discuss the issue with stakeholders. Samuel said the Employment Act and other relevant legislations which had sections and clauses on child labour would be expanded with ideas derived from the workshop to be incorporated. He said concepts from the Worst Form of Child Labour Convention (1999) and the Minimum Age Convention (1973) would also be borrowed to give teeth to the existing sections of laws on child labour.

The workshop heard that child labour had become a phenomenon in the 21st century because of the booming economic activity and the urge for entrepreneurs to make fast money at lesser expenses. He said the idea to create this legislation was conceived in 2008 and initial work began in 2010. It included awareness, review, research and case studies.
He said a subsidiary set of laws called the “Common Rule” would also be looked at.