The Ministry of Labour on Tuesday announced it will take stricter measures to curb child labour, and minister Nidal Qatamin said firms or installations proven to have recruited children or workers under 16 years of age will be subject to penalties.
"Child labour negatively affects children's physical and mental health and social safety and interferes with their ability to attend regular school," he said in a statement, adding that the problem warranted a collective national and international effort that also involves NGOs and voluntary organisations.
He pointed out that the problem of child labour had increased in Jordan in the past two years, largely due to the Syrian refugee crisis, stressing the need for a combined effort to address its social impact and consequences. Ayman Khawaldeh, the Labour Ministry's Inspection Department director, said that the ministry's child labour section would start field surveys at mechanic and vehicle repair shops, factories, cafes and other places to ensure that no underage labourers are employed there.
He said the ministry will "very soon", in cooperation with specialized bodies, carry out detailed field studies to identify the ratio of children of all nationalities in the Jordanian labour force and define the sectors that employ them most, with the aim of curbing child labour.
Khawaldeh said the Inspection Department had in 2014 recorded about 1,316 cases of child labour, 414 of which involved Syrian children, adding that 799 employers had been warned and 285 fined. He said that over 40 per cent of the violations were reported at automotive repair facilities.