Labour Law Reform in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s existing Decent Work Country Programme prioritises the completion and implementation of labour law reform, and in particular, the passage of the Industrial Relations Bill and revisions to the Employment Act.

The ILO’s Labour Governance and Migration (LGM) Project is providing technical assistance to revise the Employment Act. The primary objective of the reform process is to modernise the law relating to terms and conditions of employment to improve labour market outcomes and progressively realise international labour standards. A tripartite Working Group chaired by the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations (DLIR) is leading this work.

In late October during the course of two days, representatives of workers and
employers met to discuss a draft Bill to revise the Employment Act and refine their policy positions. Mentoring assistance was provided to workers by the Nick Blake from the Australian Council of Trade Unions. These policy positions were shared at a meeting of the Working Group the following day.

A key area of discussion was further action to implement International Labour Standards relating to the Minimum Age of Employment (ILO Convention 138) and the Elimination of the Worst forms of Child Labour (ILO Convention 182). Participants agreed that the DLIR lead the establishment of an expert Committee to formulate a hazardous child labour list in regulations to fully implement the requirements of international labour standards. Legislative provisions are among a range of action being implemented in PNG to address the pervasive and destructive effects of child labour on individuals, families, communities and the economy. The EU funded TACKLE project is continuing to work on strengthening institutional capacities to formulate and implement policies, strategies and programmes to combat the worst forms of child labour, including child trafficking.

The ILO’s labour law reform programme in PNG is funded by AusAID under a Partnership Agreement with the Australian Government.