Child Labour

Child Labour denies children their fundamental human rights such as the right to education, right to rest and leisure and free from unfair working conditions. The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda under Article 34 (4) provides for the protection of children from socio-economic exploitation and restricts them from performing child labour.

Child labour is work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to a child, and the circumstances under which it is performed endanger the physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development or in the worst forms of child labour.

The minimum age for hazardous work is 18 years.

The minimum age of employment of a child is sixteen (16) years.

A child under the age of fourteen (14) years shall not be employed in any business undertaking or workplace, except in the following circumstances:

  1. light work carried out under the supervision of an adult;
  2. where the work does not exceed fourteen hours per week.

Forms of child labour?

Child labour manifests itself in various forms and some of these are when children:

  1. are exposed to dangerous machinery, equipment and tools;
  2. carry heavy loads beyond their capacity;
  3. work in unhealthy environments that expose them to hazardous substances, infectious diseases, excessive noise, temperature or vibrations;
  4. are exposed to harassment or physical, psychological or sexual abuse;
  5. work underground, in water, or at heights;
  6. are unreasonably confined to the premises of the employers;
  7. work for long hours.

Child labour is found in different sectors including domestic service, commercial agriculture (tea and sugar plantations), the informal sector, hotels and bars, construction, fishing, mining, stone and sand quarrying.

What type of work is a child allowed to undertake?

A child is allowed to undertake light work. Light work is work that is not harmful to the child’s health and development, doesn’t affect their school attendance and participation in vocational training and should not exceed fourteen hours per week.

Activities that may be considered to be light work include:

  1. sewing;
  2. attending to and serving guests;
  3. sweeping, cleaning the floor and organising the house;
  4. cleaning and polishing shoes;
  5. washing clothes;
  6. cleaning places where animals are kept;
  7. making purchases in the market or shops;
  8. looking for firewood;
  9. cleaning the toilet and bathroom;
  10. helping out in the garden; and
  11. preparing family meals.