COVID-19 Crisis Increases Risk of Child Labour, Warns International Labour Organization
June 12 (BTA) - The World Day Against Child Labour, 2020, observed on June 12, focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis on child labour. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the crisis could push millions of vulnerable children into child labour due to the economic shock it caused and the decrease in people's income, said Friday the press centre of the General Labor Inspectorate (GIT).
On the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour, the GIT informed that in Bulgaria as a whole child labour in its worst forms has been eliminated. The labour legislation regulates special protection with regard to the employment of minors. Hiring them without permission from the Labour Inspectorate is classified as a crime. Child labour up to the age of 16 is prohibited, as this is the constitutionally determined age for compulsory education in Bulgaria. Permits for persons under 16 are given only in exceptional cases, mostly in cases of children participating in theatre and music ensembles, film productions, etc.
The labour legislation in Bulgaria also provides for easier working conditions for minors. Night and overtime work is prohibited in these cases. Minors work on a reduced working day of seven hours with a salary not below the minimum wage. They are entitled to extended leave of 26 days. There is also a list of activities that minors are not allowed to perform in cases when the work is difficult or dangerous for their mental and physical health.
Labour Inspectorate data show that with the increase of unemployment demand for hiring minors decreases. In the five months of 2020, the Labour Inspectorate has issued 540 permits for persons under 18 and eight for persons under 16. For the same period last year the permits were respectively 1,639 and 31. In 2019, a record was achieved with a total of 9,400 permits granted, recalled the GIT.
Minors are mainly employed in restaurants, hotels and trade. The most common violations are related to the extended paid annual leave which is sometimes omitted in work contracts. In 2019, 119 cases of minors hired without permission from the Inspectorate were identified and were referred to the prosecution, the GIT said. RY/DT