Australia signs up to stamp out child labour, violence at work

The federal government has ratified two international treaties that deliver greater workplace protection to vulnerable workers.

The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Minimum Age Convention,1973 (No.138) provides a framework that sets out the minimum age for young people to start employment so that they can work safely and without interfering with their schooling.

According to the government, Australia has robust standards on safe and appropriate employment for children. Ratification of the Convention demonstrates our commitment to strong international labour standards.

“The Government is committed to protecting the rights of children, including through providing the best start in life through a quality education and ensuring everyone has a safe and appropriate workplace.”

Australia will declare a minimum age of 15 years, noting that the Convention allows for children under that age to perform light work in certain circumstances.

This includes work that Australia has traditionally considered appropriate, such as newspaper deliveries, work in a family business and volunteer work.

The International Labour Organization’s Violence and Harassment Convention,2019 commits Australia to ensuring its laws provide a framework prohibiting all forms of violence and harassment in the workplace, including gender-based violence.

The Convention includes obligations to ensure monitoring and enforcement of national laws and access to dispute resolution mechanisms, as well as privacy and anti-discrimination obligations and protection for people who may experience vulnerabilities.

“Violence and harassment are simply unacceptable in Australian workplaces, affecting the safety and wellbeing of thousands of workers every year, the majority of whom are women.”

Now ratified, the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention will support the full extension of the 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave entitlement to all 12 million employees in Australia by September 2024.

Ratification of these two treaties demonstrates the Australian Government’s broader commitment to eliminating child labour and workplace violence and harassment not just in Australia, but around the world.

Picture: International Labour Organization in session

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