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Children Employment

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CHILDREN (EMPLOYMENT OP).--The Employment of Children Act, 1903, provides that no child shall be employed between the hours of 9 P.M. and 6 A.M. unless the local authority by bye-laws varies these hours generally or for a specified occupation ; that no child under eleven is to be employed in street trading ; that a half-timer under the Factory Act must not have any other occupation ; and that no child may be employed to lift, carry, or move such weights astmay cause injury, or work at any occupation likely to be injurious to its life, limb, health or education, having regard to its physical condition. The local authority can send a certificate, signed by a registered doctor, to the employer giving a specified weight, or stating the occupation is likely to be injurious, and this certificate will be evidence in any subsequent proceedings. By the term " child " is meant any one under fourteen years of age. "Local authority," in England, means the Common Council for the City of London, any borough over 10,000 population, any district council over 20,000, and the county councils ; in Scotland, the School Board, except for bye-laws, when any borough over 7000, and the county councils ; in Ireland, any district council over 5000 and the county councils.

Bye-laws.—Any local authority may make bye-laws--(1) prescribing for all children or boys and girls separately, and in regard to all nncupations or any specified occupation, the age below which, the hours betwevo which, the daily and weekly hours beyond which, employment is illegal ; (2) prohibiting or permitting, subject to conditions, employment in any specified occupation ; (3) as to street trading by persons under sixteen—(a) prohibiting it unless under conditions as to age, sex, or otherwise, or under license ; (5) regulating the granting, suspending, or revoking of such licenses ; (c) fixing the days, hours, and places for such street trading ; (d) requiring badges to be worn ; (e) regulating the conduct of the street traders. The license or right to trail is not to be subject to conditions as to poverty or bad character.

Special regard is to be had to tie undesirability of the employment of girls under sixteen in streets or public places.

The bye-laws are to be confirmed by the Secretary of State, the Secretary for Scotland, or Lord-Lieutenant for Ireland, not earlier than thirty days after the local authority have published them. The Secretary must consid-

all objections made to him by those affected. He may, before confil.ning, order a local inquiry. The bye-laws may apply to the whole of the local area or part only. Those by a county council are not to have effect in a borough within their area, if the latter is a local authority.

For employing Any one under sixteen in contravention of the Act or bye-laws, on Eammary conviction, first offence £2, subsequent £5. (2) For a pLrent or guardian conducing to the offence by wilful default or habitual neglect, a similar fine. (3) For any one under sixteen contravening as to street trading, first offence, 20s., subsequent £5, or if a child sent to an industrial school. (4) Or instead of an industrial school the child may be taken out of the charge of its guardians, and given in charge of some fit person until sixteen. (5) If the offence is committed by an agent or workman, he is liable as if he were the employer. (6) Where the parent is privy to a false or forged certificate, or has made a false representation as to age, he can be fined 40s. (7) The employer can on being charged, supply information so as to have the real culprit brought before the Court, and if satisfied of his due diligence, and want of knowledge of the offence, the other will be convicted, and not the employer. (8) If an inspector is satisfied the employer has used due diligence, and does not know of the offence, and it is in contravention of his orders, he can proceed against the actual culprit without first proceeding against the employer. The information must be laid within three months after any offence. A justice of the peace, on complaint of the officer of the local authority and on reasonable cause, can empower the officer to enter any place within forty-eight hours of the order and inquire as to the employment of any child therein. Any person refusing admission or ob structing is liable to a fine of £20. The bye-laws are not to apply to a child over twelve employed under the Factory Acts or the Mines Regulations Acts of 1872 and 1887. The inspectors under these Acts have the powers of the local authorities in this Act. Nor is the Act to apply to certified industrial or reformatory schools or manual instruction in any school.

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