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Principal Recommendations

  • The Government of El Salvador should support the inclusion of child domestic work as a priority in El Salvador’s Time-Bound Programme.
  • The Ministry of Labor should enforce the provisions in the Constitution and the labor code that restrict the workday to six hours and the work week to thirty-four hours for children under age sixteen “in any class of work.”
  • The Ministry of Education should ensure that all children enjoy their right to a free basic education, grades one through nine, as guaranteed by Salvadoran law. In particular, it should work with appropriate enforcement authorities to sanction schools that illegally levy school fees or turn away students without uniforms.
  • The Legislative Assembly should set an unequivocal minimum age for employment and should explicitly prohibit the employment of all children under the age of eighteen in harmful or hazardous labor.

Additional Recommendations

To the Legislative Assembly

  • Set a minimum wage for domestic service, guaranteeing domestic workers fair wages that are comparable to wages earned for other forms of work that require equivalent skills and hours.
  • Bring legislation governing domestic work in line with constitutional guarantees and international standards. In particular, accord domestic workers the same rights as other Salvadoran workers with respect to overtime, rest periods, and vacation.

To the Ministry of Labor

  • Enforce the provisions of the labor code relating to domestic work, particularly those governing wages, hours of work, and time off.
  • Launch a national public information campaign on the rights of domestic workers, with special emphasis on the situation of child domestic workers.
  • Create a confidential toll free hotline to receive reports of workers’ rights violations.
  • Include data on domestic workers in its annual compilation of labor statistics, disaggregated by sex and age.

To the Ministry of Education

  • In addition to addressing illegal school fees and similar state-imposed barriers to education, identify and implement strategies to reduce other costs to attending school, such as transport and school supplies.

To the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman

  • Investigate alleged abuses against child domestic workers.

To the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour of the International Labour Organization

  • Urge the government to support the expansion of El Salvador’s Time-Bound Programme to include domestic work as a priority.

To the United Nations Children’s Fund

  • Work with the Ministry of Education on strategies to ensure access to basic and secondary education for children who work.

To Donor Countries

  • In line with article 8 of the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, assist El Salvador in implementing the convention, particularly through support for universal education.

To the United States Department of State

  • Regularly include domestic workers’ rights, with a special focus on child workers, as an issue in the section on labor rights in the annual country reports on human rights abuses.

To the United States Department of Labor

  • Offer to fund programs to address abuses against domestic workers, including those under the age of eighteen.

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January 2003