- The Government of Jamaica continues to provide social protection interventions, such as the PATH, to reduce poverty and eliminate child labour.
- This is the word from Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier.
- Minister Kellier said the Government recognises that poverty is the root cause of child labour.
The Government of Jamaica continues to provide social protection interventions, such as the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), to reduce poverty and eliminate child labour.
This is the word from Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier.
Speaking at a child labour tripartite workshop at his Heroes Circle offices in Kingston earlier on Thursday, June 26, Minister Kellier said the Government recognises that poverty is the root cause of child labour and has put programmes in place that can help to break the cycle of poverty and promote economic improvements in various ways.
These include, he said, providing income security for families, thereby reducing the need for children to work to supplement earnings; promoting and encouraging enrolment of children in schools; and providing regular health check-up, thereby avoiding scenarios where children have to work to replace income lost through sickness or ill-health.
He noted that since PATH was implemented 12 years ago, it has become Jamaica’s main social assistance programme. As at February 2014, there were approximately 370,000 registered beneficiaries, and the desired objectives have been realised in terms of improved primary and secondary school attendance by children six to 18 years, and increased health care visits for children under six years.
“Among the notable achievements of PATH is the implementation of a transparent and objective Beneficiary Identification System (BIS), which identifies the poorest and most vulnerable households and individuals for assistance,” Mr. Kellier said.
Other social benefits programmes implemented by the Government include the range of old age/pensions, employment injury benefits, maternity allowance for domestic workers, special anniversary pension, health insurance, funeral grants and other grants where contributors do not satisfy the eligibility conditions.
“Moving forward, we expect to do more with more persons registering under the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). More persons registering with the NIS will strengthen the scheme and in turn, bolster the foundation for a more sustainable social security system,” the Minister said.
He said the Government will continue to reduce vulnerability through measures to identify and create employment and business opportunities for the unemployed and the poor, and find ways to increase the participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of national life.
It is estimated that 16,240 Jamaican children are involved in child labour. Minister Kellier said that while the figure could be considered minor when compared to the over 168 million cases worldwide, “it is only through united global action that this scourge will be eliminated, leading to progress and development of nations”.
He noted that the National Plan of Action on Child Labour already provides that children must be in school up to age 18 and parents must not abuse their children by engaging them in work before that age.
“So, with decent work for adults and free and compulsory education up to age 18, it is possible to reduce the need for children to work through provision of social protection,” he said.
He pledged that the Government will continue to work with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the European Union, and other international and local partners to combat child labour.