18 to be minimum age for employment in Sri Lanka

This is expected to keep exploitation of children in check

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Sri Lanka is looking to alter the child labour regulations in the country, following the death of 16-year-old domestic help who was employed at a politician’s residence. The Cabinet proposes to raise the minimum age of employment to 18, and the Ministry of Labour is planning to add 24 more jobs to the list of jobs that are considered harmful for children in the age range of 16 to 18.

With the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) demanding stricter laws to prevent children’s exploitation, the list of jobs considered dangerous for those aged 16 to 18 is expected to grow to 76 now.

The child who died of burns was employed at a Sri Lankan politician’s house. The employer’s family members have been detained in connection to the case. The said politician has been in detention in some other case for some time now.

Exploitation of children is rampant in the developing and underdeveloped countries. In India, the Constitution prohibits employing children below the age of 14 at factories or mines where the environment may be harmful. Any violation or non-compliance in this regard is likely to invite imprisonment or fines. Additionally, children are not be made to work for over six hours a day and are supposed to be allowed a break every three hours. However, laws continue to be broken and children from poor families continue to be employed as domestic help, in the absence of any strict measures.

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