Welcome to our forum today as we continue to share the diverse knowledge relating to the labour laws and practice. In the previous article we have discussed on areas that employers are not allowed to employ any child under 18 years. Today we are going to explore the possible punishment for violation rules against child employment.
Offence on Child employment
Section 5 (7) of the ELRA provides for an offence to child employment
‘(7) it is an offence for any person –
- to employ a child in contravention of this section;
- to procure a child for employment in contravention of this section
the law has prohibited employers to employ children under 14 years and also children under 18 years to hazardous conditions as discussed in the previous article. If the employer or any person who procures a child under age or engage a child in hazardous conditions then is committing an offence which is punishable under the Employment and Labour Relations Act.
As a society we have witnessed a great number of children employment to various sectors or working conditions that are not in relation or proportion to their age. We have seen that in agricultural sector, mining, fishery, service sector or construction sector. We must adapt the changes and live to the standard provided by the Labour Laws.
Why then employers employ children?
There are many reasons ascribed to child employment, however one of the major reason is that children are cheap labour. Most employers avoid to employ adult because they have power to negotiate their earnings than children.
Mostly children employment has been among our houses, when we hire children to look after our homes. Most of these are standard 7 leavers who could not proceed with secondary education. It is important to note that most of these are in their early teens like 13 to 15. It is against the law.
Also we have witnessed, children involvement in street begging with adults using them. These children are so young even from 2 years – 10 years who are suppose to be at home playing or at nursery school but are on high ways begging. The society ought to take action against this malpractice and violation of children rights to proper education and health life.
Punishment for Child employment
If a person is convicted for child employment or procuring a child for employment then such person can be sentenced to fine not exceeding 5 million or imprisonment for a term of 1 year or both.
In any case as to whether an employed person is a child or not, the burden of proof lies to the employer and not to the child or prosecution.
The employer has to be careful before making arrangement with an employee so as to ascertain the age of the employee. To be safe for the employers, they must not engage children or persons under age in any employment that is hazardous.
Isaack Zake, Esq.
Isaack Zake an Advocate of the High Court of Tanzania, he is passionate in pursuing matters in relation to labour and Human Resource Management and has been labour lawyer practitioner at various areas of practice such as FIBUCA Trade Union, Commission for Mediation and Arbitration, Labour Court of Tanzania and Labour Office at the Ministry of the Labour Affairs. Mr. Isaack is also a founder of www.ulizasheria.co.tz a blog that offers legal education to the public but also specifically to the labour stakeholders who has been able to publish more than 100 articles relating to labour laws in Swahili.
Mr. Zake is also working with the legal team of Tanzania Association of Agriculture, Commerce, Industry and Mining Employers (TAACIME) an Employer’s Association. You are all welcome to join TAACIME for advocating employer(s) rights.
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