The Ministry of Labour is reminding all parents, guardians and employers even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the employment of children below age 16, including migrant children, is illegal in Trinidad and Tobago.
With the re-opening of schools in September 2020, the Ministry emphasised that every child has a right to an education and thus no child under 16 years should be denied this opportunity.
It says according to the Employment of Young Persons of the Children’s Act “A child under the age of sixteen years shall not be employed or work in any public or private undertaking or in any branch thereof, other than an undertaking, owned and controlled by members of the same family; and any person who employs any such child, commits an offence.
It says this offence carries penalties for parents and employers up to twenty-five thousand dollars and three years imprisonment.
The Ministry of Labour says it empathises with parents or guardians who are experiencing economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and takes this opportunity to remind them that Child Labour should not be an option to circumvent challenges and there are support services available to every citizen.
Information about these services can be provided by the Labour Inspectorate Unit of the Ministry of Labour and various organizations of the National Steering Committee for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour.