Cablegate: Ukraine: Update of Child Labor Information for Tda
DE RUEHKV #4542/01 3471303
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131303Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0689
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0024
UNCLAS KYIV 004542
DEPT OF LABOR FOR DOL/ILAB - TMCCARTER
STATE FOR DRL/IL (TDANG) AND EUR/UMB (BWOLF)
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: UPDATE OF CHILD LABOR INFORMATION FOR TDA
REF: STATE 184972
1. As requested reftel, below Post provides updated
information on child labor in Ukraine, for use in the
preparation of the 2006 report Findings on the Worst Forms
of Child Labor. Post has chosen to answer each of the
questions posed in reftel as "Indicators" under the five
2. Post will also send this information via email to USDOL
POC Tina McCarter. Post's POC is Christian Yarnell,
Economic Officer - Email: email@example.com; Phone: 011-
380-44-490-4276; Fax: 011-380-44-490-4277).
3. Begin Text:
A) Laws and regulations proscribing the worst forms of
QUESTION: What laws and regulations have been promulgated
on child labor, such as minimum age(s) for employment or
hazardous forms of work? If there is a minimum age for
employment, is that age consistent with the age for
completing educational requirements? Are there exceptions
to the minimum age law?
ANSWER: Ukraine's Labor Code sets 16 as the minimum age for
employment, although as of 15 adolescents may engage in
"light work" with their parents' consent. The law does
not, however, clearly define the term "light work." In
addition, children aged 14 can legally do some forms of
agricultural and social work on a short-term basis, with
the consent of one parent.
QUESTION: Do the country's laws define the worst forms of
child labor or hazardous work as the ILO defines those
terms? If the country has ratified Convention 182, has it
developed a list of occupations considered to be worst
forms of child labor, as called for in article 4 of the
ANSWER: In February 2005, Ukraine's Parliament passed an
amendment to the law "On Childhood Protection," which now
provides the primary legal framework for combating child
labor. Article 21 of this law forbids the "involvement of
children in the worst forms of child labor" and defines the
"worst forms of child labor" in line with ILO Convention
182. Ukraine ratified ILO Convention 182 on December 14,
2000. The law "On Childhood Protection" provides a list of
occupations considered among the worst forms of child
B) Regulations for implementation and enforcement of
proscriptions against the worst forms of child labor
QUESTION: Has the government designated an authority to
implement and enforce child labor laws?
ANSWER: Yes. The State Labor Inspectorate (full name:
State Department of Surveillance over Labor Legislation
Observance) under the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy
is responsible for implementing and enforcing child labor
laws in the formal sector. In the informal sector, this
responsibility falls to the Department of Juvenile Affairs
(under the Ministry of Family, Youth, and Sport) and the
Criminal Police (under the Ministry of Internal Affairs).
According to the ILO's International Program on the
Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC), child labor in Ukraine
exists most often in the informal sector, where the
activities children are engaged in are themselves illegal.
Common examples include sex services, pornography, and
unsanctioned coal mining. In such cases, law enforcement
agencies usually take the lead and seek prosecution of
those responsible for the illegal activity and illegal
hiring of children.
QUESTION: What legal remedies are available to government
agencies that enforce child labor laws (criminal penalties,
civil fines, court orders), and are they adequate to punish
and deter violations?
ANSWER: According to Article 150 of Ukraine's Criminal
Code, the unlawful employment of an underage child carries
a sentence of up to six months imprisonment, or judicial
restraint for up to three years, along with restrictions
for up to three years on the right to occupy certain
positions and conduct certain business activities. A
stiffer sentence of imprisonment from two to five years is
possible if multiple underage children are involved, if the
offender causes considerable damage to the health or
physical condition of the child, or if the work involves
some kind of hazardous production. In addition, Article
304 of the Criminal Code allows for imprisonment, or
judicial restraint, for a term up to three years for the
involvement of adolescents under 18 into criminal activity,
drunkenness, begging, or gambling.
QUESTION: To what extent are complaints investigated and
ANSWER: The government investigates complaints and attempts
to address violations, although incidents of child labor
remain. Ukraine's system of labor inspections is split
among three different bodies -- the State Labor Inspectorate
(under the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy), the State
Committee for Industrial Safety, Occupational Health and
Mining Supervision, and the State Committee on Occupational
Hygiene (under the Ministry of Health). Better integration
of the inspection function would likely improve the
government's ability to combat child labor; the ILO has
encouraged the GOU to pursue such integration. Some legal
restrictions also constrain labor inspectors in their
efforts to combat child labor. For example, labor
inspectors cannot investigate cases on private, household
farms, where child labor can in fact be quite common.
Violators of child labor laws in the formal sector usually
face only small administrative fines, and punishments do
not constitute a serious deterrent. Legal employers are
generally more visible, however, and therefore easier for
the government to monitor. Employers of children who
engage in criminal activities routinely face criminal
prosecution when discovered. The majority of incidents of
child labor occur in the informal or illegal sector.
QUESTION: What level of resources does the government
devote to investigating child labor cases throughout the
country? How many inspectors does the government employ to
address child labor issues? How many child labor
investigations have been conducted over the past year? How
many have resulted in fines, penalties, or convictions?
ANSWER: Investigating child labor abuses is part of the
State Labor Inspectorate's broader enforcement of labor
laws, and there are no inspectors devoted solely to child
labor. During inspections in 2005, the State Labor
Inspectorate found 1865 cases in which adolescents under 18
years old were working. Inspectors passed 68 cases to law
enforcement bodies to pursue criminal prosecution.
Authorities filed administrative charges with the courts in
234 cases. Information on how these cases concluded is not
available. Thirty-one employers faced administrative
liability for refusal to cooperate with labor inspectors.
QUESTION: Has the government provided awareness raising
and/or training activities for officials charged with
enforcing child labor laws?
ANSWER: No, the government has not provided such training.
C) Whether there are social programs to prevent and
withdraw children from the worst forms of child labor
QUESTION: What initiatives has the government supported to
prevent children from entering exploitive work situations,
to withdraw children engaged in such labor, and to advocate
on behalf of children involved in such employment and their
families? If possible, please provide information on
funding levels for such initiatives.
ANSWER: The President of Ukraine issued a Decree "On
Priority Measures to Protect Children's Rights" on July 11,
2005. The government of Ukraine subsequently developed a
series of policy initiatives to implement the President's
goals. Among these initiatives are the following:
-- The Decree "On the Statute of SOS-Children Village,"
issued on March 15, 2006, establishes a specialized non-
for-profit organization, under the supervision of the
Department of Juvenile Affairs, which seeks to provide
disadvantaged children with life skills and educational
opportunities within a family environment.
-- "The State Program on Family Support for 2006-2010" was
approved by the Government on May 11, 2006. It acknowledges
the increasing number of street children and the high level
of child neglect. The initiative sets a minimum level of
financial assistance for vulnerable families. It also
carries provisions for psychological support, and to carry
out broad public awareness campaigns on family values and
-- "The State Program on Reforming the Boarding System for
Children-Orphans and Children, Deprived of Parental Care,"
approved on May 11, 2006, seeks to restructure the nation's
boarding schools, and to promote foster care and other
alternative models of child care.
-- "The State Program on Education Development for 2006-
2010," approved on July 12, 2006, aims to reform the
Ukrainian education system along European lines. It
supports improved education in rural areas and for children
lacking parental care.
-- The government amended the "Regulation On Setting and
Payment of State Allowances for Families with Children" on
August 1, 2006 to provide single-parent families with state
allowances for children, up to 23 years of age, studying in
institutions of higher education. The state previously
provided such assistance for children only up to 18 years
QUESTION: Does the government support programs to promote
children's access to schooling and to enhance the quality
and relevance of schooling? If possible, please provide
information on funding levels for primary and secondary
education as opposed to tertiary education.
ANSWER: The Ministry of Education and Science takes the
lead in developing and implementing programs to support
access to schooling. In particular, the Ministry publishes
and supplies free manuals for schools, provides busing for
children in rural areas, and supports teachers in rural
schools through initiatives to provide teachers with
housing and supplemental wages. The state budget allocated
UAH 8.02 billion (USD 1.59 billion) for primary/secondary
education (Grades 1-10) during the first seven months of
2006, and UAH 10.93 billion (USD 2.17 billion) in 2005.
QUESTION: Does the government provide support to vocational
programs for older children that can serve as an
alternative to work?
ANSWER: Yes. The Public Employment Service operates a
vocational training program for unemployed youth who are
outside the education system. In collaboration with the
Ministry of Education and Science, the Public Employment
Service also conducts job counseling and vocational
reorientation activities to meet current labor market
QUESTION: Do the country's laws/regulations call for
universal or compulsory education? Are these requirements
ANSWER: Ukraine's Constitution calls for universal
education, and authorities generally enforce this
requirement. However, financial constraints deprive some
children of access to education (see below).
QUESTION: Is education free or are fees charged for
attendance, books, supplies, or transportation?
ANSWER: Public education is free, but students are
sometimes expected to cover their own expenses for books,
supplies (including school uniforms), and transportation.
These expenses can be quite costly for poorer Ukrainian
families and can, in rare cases, prevent some children from
attending school. Transportation can be a particularly
difficult impediment; the state's ability to provide buses
in some school districts, particularly those between small
villages, is limited by budgetary constraints.
D) Does the country have a comprehensive policy aimed at
the elimination of the worst forms of child labor?
QUESTION: Does the country have a comprehensive policy or
national program of action on child labor? If so, to what
degree has the country implemented the policy and/or
program of action and achieved its goals and objectives?
ANSWER: Through the 2005 Decree "On Priority Measures to
Protect Children's Rights," the President empowered the
Government to draft a National Action Plan (NAP) for the
period 2006-2016 aimed at the effective implementation of
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as a
National Program to Combat Child Homelessness for the
period of 2006-2010. The NAP, approved on April 22, 2006,
tracks closely with the UN Convention on the Rights of the
Child. The draft NAP also outlines an improved Child Labor
Monitoring System. The NAP is currently under
Parliamentary review and, if passed as a law by Parliament,
would guarantee consistent state budget funding for the
protection of the rights of children.
The 2005 Presidential Decree also requested the Ministry of
Justice to examine and improve the juvenile justice system.
The Ministry of Interior, meanwhile, was tasked to improve
efforts to locate missing children, better identify
individuals who involve children in illicit activities
(begging, prostitution, etc.), and bring these individuals
QUESTION: Has the government made a public
statement/commitment to eradicate the worst forms of child
ANSWER: President Viktor Yushchenko has made the
elimination of the worst forms of child labor a government
priority since taking office in 2005.
E) Is the country making continual progress toward
eliminating the worst forms of child labor?
QUESTION: What is the child labor situation in the country
(nature and magnitude), and how has it changed over the
past year? Please provide source information or copies of
data, estimates, and reports on the sectors/occupations in
which child labor is found.
ANSWER: As established by the Constitution of Ukraine,
child labor has been and remains formally prohibited.
However, it has always existed, and was an integral part of
the Soviet educational system, considered valuable
experience in preparing children for the workplace. Under
the relatively stable, planned Soviet economy, child labor
did not have an overly destructive impact on children
because it was overseen by national education bodies and
was considered to be a means of education rather than
family subsistence. The situation changed dramatically
after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian
economy, however, when child labor as a large scale social
and economic problem took on new dimensions. The collapse
of the economic system fostered the emergence of a large
shadow economy in which child labor is widely used. Petty
commerce appears to be the most common occupation in which
children are engaged, as approximately one third of working
children sell products on the streets or in unofficial
markets. Poverty became the primary driving force for
child labor, and general social disorder rendered children
unprotected, particularly in relation to the employer.
-- Source: National Program for the Prevention and
Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Ukraine:
Independent Evaluation, April 2006, p.47
The government has made progress in combating child labor
in recent years, but substantial work remains. The
majority of local government agencies, as well as some
central government bodies, lack awareness, commitment, and
capacity to plan and implement interventions to combat
child labor. In addition, Ukrainian society has only
recently begun to recognize the existence of child labor
and associated problems. Broad societal support, strong
and consistent political commitment, as well as support
from a wide range of government agencies still need be
ensured. Institutional capacity also needs to be
strengthened, both in substantive (child labor related
knowledge and methodology) and technical (program
management capacity and resource mobilization) areas. That
said, the government's recent efforts to combat child
labor, and its cooperation with the ILO on this issue, have
been a very positive step.
-- Source: National Program for the Prevention and
Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Ukraine:
Independent Evaluation, April 2006, p.31