Myanmar gears up to implement minimum working age convention

The Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population (MoLIP), together with the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNICEF, and Myanmar workers and employers’ organisations, and child protection civil society organizations today have come together in a webinar to lay the foundation for the implementation of the ILO Minimum Age Convention No. 138, ratified by Myanmar on 8 June 2020 and will take effect in June 2021.

Press release | 30 July 2020
Yangon (ILO News) - Convention 138 requires countries to set a minimum age for employment aligned with the end of compulsory education under which no one shall be admitted to work in any occupations except light work and artistic performances.  It also prohibits hazardous activities for anyone under 18 years old. 

“The global COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated poverty, inequality and deprivation of resources. Among the most severely affected are children. The closure of schools, combined with additional hardship in poor families, increase the risk of child labour. Although the challenges ahead are signifi-cant, Myanmar’s ratification of ILO Convention 138 demonstrates a commitment to preventing and protecting children from child labour by 2033,” ILO Yangon Deputy Liaison Officer, Piyamal Pichai-wongse said.

Technical ILO specialists and international expert presented the requirements of Convention 138, as well as the key findings of a legal review on Myanmar national laws and regulations related to child labour in light of the recently ratified minimum age convention. They also discussed Myanmar’s ob-ligations about its implementation on the ground.

In Myanmar, the minimum working age is 14 years old, set out in the Child Rights Law and existing Labour Laws.  According to Convention 138, if an economy and educational facilities in a country are insufficiently developed, a minimum age of entry into employment at 14 years is made possible after consultation with organisations of employers and workers.

From the labour force and school to work survey in 2015, there are approximately 1.13 million chil-dren in child labour across Myanmar, of which more than 600,000 are working in hazardous work environments. In addition to Convention 182 on the worst forms of Child Labour that Myanmar rati-fied in 2013, ratifying Convention 138 on 8 June, 2020  signals important progress in eliminating child labour in the country.

Myanmar is required to report periodically to the ILO’s Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations on how it complies with the Convention through its laws, poli-cies and practices.

Representatives from government including the Ministry of Health and Sports, Ministry of Educa-tion, Ministry of Information, Factories and General Labour Laws Inspection Department (FGLLID), and the city development committees of Nay Pyi Yaw, Mandalay and Yangon took part in the con-sultative webinar. They were joined by employers’ and workers’ organisations such as Agriculture and Farmers Federation of Myanmar (AFFM-IUF), Myanmar Industries Craft & Services Trade Union Federation (MICS), Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM), and Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI); and non-government organisations and child protection civil society groups, Save the Children, Ratana Metta Organization, World Vision Myanmar and the Yangon Region Youth Affairs Committee. 

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