Section 34 prohibits the employment of children (children is defined under the Labour Act as persons under 14 years of age) in any occupation, and describes the conditions under which adolescents (children over 14 and under 18 years of age) are allowed to work. Section 44 provides for an exception to this prohibition, and establishes that children who are at least 12 years of age may be employed in such light work as not to endanger their health and development or interfere with their education.
Section 1 of the Labour Code excludes many sectors of the economy in which children work, including small farms, family enterprises, street work, and domestic service, from the scope of application of the Labour Code. According to the US Department of Labour, in 2006 over 3.7 million (about 10%) children in Bangladesh aged 5-14 are engaged in child labour, mainly in agriculture (45.5%) and services (36%), but also in the industrial sector (18.5%). The penalty for the employment of a child or adolescent in contravention of the provisions of the Labour Code, as determined in section 284, is a fine amounting to 5,000 taka.
Section 34. Prohibition of employment of children and adolescents:
(1) No child shall be employed or permitted to work in any occupation or establishment.
(2) No adolescent shall be employed or permitted to work in any occupation or establishment unless:
a) a certificate of fitness in the prescribed form and granted to him by a registered medical practitioner is in the custody of the employer; and
b) he carries , while at work, a token giving a reference to such certificate.
(3) Nothing in this sub-section (2), shall apply to the employment of any adolescent in any occupation or establishment either as an apprentice or or the purpose or receiving vocational training therein:
(4) The Government may, where it is of opinion that an emergency has arisen and the public interest so requires, by notification in the official Gazette, declare that the provisions of this sub-section (2), shall not be in operation for such period as may be specified in the notification.
Section 44. Exception in certain cases of employment of children:
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this chapter, a child who has completed twelve years of age, may be employed in such light work as not to endanger his health and development or interfere with his education; Provided that the hours of work of such child, where he is school going, shall be so arranged that they do not interfere with is school attendance.
(2) All provisions applicable to an adolescent workers under this chapter shall mutatis-mutandis apply to such child workers.
Law / 11 October 2006 / Bangladesh / Labour Act 2006
The Bangladesh Labour Act of 2006 combined and amended a number of laws relating to the employment of workers, minimum wages, compensation for work-related injuries, the formation of trade unions, health and safety, the welfare and working environment of employees, and other related issues. The Act also provides for compensation to workers for injuries sustained in the workplace. The Act applies to both permanent workers and workers employed through a contractor. Under the Act, a contractor who employs workers is treated as an employer and is liable for any violations of the provisions of the law.