GUIDELINES FOR

ACCEPTABLE

HOUSEHOLD CHORES 

DEFINITIONS AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN

CHILD LABOUR,

CHILD DOMESTIC,

WORK AND

 HOUSEHOLD CHORES


What is child labour?

Work by children under 18 which is exploiting, hazardous or otherwise inappropriate for their age, detrimental to their schooling or their social, physical, mental, spiritual or moral Development.  The “term” work is not limited to work for gain but includes chores or household activities in the child’s Household, where such work is exploitive, hazardous, inappropriate for the age ordered mental to their development.

 

Not all work done by children should be classified as child labour that is to be targeted for elimination.  Children’s or adolescents Participation in work that does not affect their health and personal Development or interferes with their schooling is generally regarded as being something positive. 

 

This includes activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or Earning pocket money outside school hours and during school Holidays.  These kinds of activities contribute to children’s Development and to the welfare of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society during their adult life.


WHAT IS CHILD DOMESTIC WORK

Child domestic work is paid work performed by the children in or for private household(s) (ILO, Domestic workers across the World, 2013). Paid domestic work includes work for cash, Accommodation, food rations or any combination of these. This is also classified as the worst form of child labour because Of its characteristics of forced labour and slavery.


WHAT ARE HOUSEHOLD CHORES

These are tasks that have to be done regularly at home or in the households.  These household work activities consists of managing the household, cleaning ,cooking, laundry, collecting wood and water, shopping, caring for the other family members (siblings, the elderly ,the sick or those with disabilities), informal trade, subsistence production, etc. Surveys of Activities of Young People (SAYP)

 

ILO-IPEC in its report named, ‘Helping hands or shackled lives? Understanding child domestic labour and responses to it refer to Household chores as ‘Helping hands ’and defines it as

 Non-hazard- does tasks undertaken by a child of any age as part of daily chores in their own family home, that do not interfere with any of the child’s rights under international and national law, and that do not constitute economic activity. The pattern of children helping at home is common in most societies.  In many parts of the developing world, children are required to perform certain chores as natural parts of their role within the household.

FACTS ABOUT HOUSEHOLD CHORES

Although household chores are usually considered non-threatening by most parents and society, if may be a strong deterrent to educational activities and the optimal development of a child. When children have to spend excessive periods of time on these chores, when they have to carry heavy loads over long distances or when they have to bear too much responsibility for their age then the housework they are doing becomes problematic.  This unpaid child work for family or households are commonly overlooked as a possible harm to education.

Furthermore, child work is detrimental to human capital accumulation, by limiting the time that those are enrolled have to do their homework and study or perpetuating poor school attendance, parents prevent their children from benefitting from higher earnings in the future. In poor households and those headed by children, this lack of schooling is likely to diminish chances of escaping poverty.  The relationship between child work and education is an important and complex issue.

 

 

Parent’s decisions regarding child work and schooling are influenced by perception of the costs and benefits of each option. The benefits from education are an important factor in parent’s considerations. However, unlike the expected returns on education, work brings immediate benefits for the well-being of the family where children are enrolled at school but delay attendance at the beginning of the year because they accompany parents to the farms until after harvesting (mid to end February) or they join their parents after school.  This is done by parents to increase the amount of bags they fill per day

 

Orphaned, vulnerable or poor children staying with caregivers may also be compromised when it comes to education.  They are usually the ones who are asked to remain in the household when such a need arises. E.g. taking care of a sick person, siblings, livestock, etc.  Parents’ or caregivers’ decision between schooling and housework are also highly dependent on the living conditions, which affects the amount of work children have to perform.  For example, a child living in an area where water is available in the living compound, village or township will have more time for educational or recreational activities as his/her household work will not include water fetching, which is a highly exhausting and time consuming activity.

VULNERABILITY OF CHILDREN

Children in child headed households

Data suggests that adolescents between ages of 12 and 17 year make up the majority of orphaned children in all countries (Children on the Brink, 2004).  These children are vulnerable to all types of abuse because the family environment that served as a safety net has been eroded.  They are often poor, live in poor conditions and are exposed to hard labour.  Girls are especially vulnerable in the context of HIV and AIDS in child headed households.  Due to gender-based discrimination, the girl child is more likely to take care of the terminally ill parent or family member. 

This deprives them of the right to education and they may be further subjected to excessive child work. Governmental (the Department of Social Development) have developed guidelines for statutory services to a child headed households.

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

Children with disabilities are more vulnerable.  They are targeted for chores because of their disability.  That sort of discrimination still exists, especially when they do not stay with their biological parents.

HOUSEHOLD CHORES VERSUS THE RIGHT TO PLAY

Children have the right to play and just be children.  This is part of their mental and physical development.  Household chores that are too excessive like water fetching deprive them of this right.  There should be interventions to deal with water provision as a basic service to all communities, so that children can have some time to be children and do their school work.

 

ACCEPTABLE AND INAPPROPRIATE

HOUSEHOLD CHORES THE

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACCEPTABLE AND INAPPROPRIATE

 HOUSEHOLD CHORE

CHARACTERISTICS

ACCEPTABLE HOUSEHOLD CHORES

INAPPROPRIATE HOUSEHOLD CHORES

They can easily be identified by family and community members

They are hidden and happen behind closed doors

Involves short working hours

Involves long working hours

Do not handle unfamiliar and dangerous chemicals

Do handle dangerous cleaning chemicals, corrosive and inflammable liquids

Do handle electronic equipment machinery and blades under supervision

Do handle unfamiliar electronic equipment machinery and blades unsupervised

Involves use of weight and loads appropriate for their age

Involves use of weights and loads inappropriate for their age

They are developmental, beneficial and appropriate in nature

Detrimental to child’s development

 

                                                       

CATEGORIES OF CHORES   

ACCEPTABLE HOUSEHOLD CHORE

INAPPROPRIATE HOUSEHOLD CHORES

Cleaning household(depends on size of home and number of family members)

Preparing household equipment, stoves ,fridges, etc.

Cooking for family members

Cooking large quantities of food for a long period in a day.

Serving of meals (age appropriate)

 

Laundry

 

Caring for siblings/sick or aged person

 

Water fetching

 

Shopping for household goods

 

Washing family vehicles

 

Herding of livestock

 

Gardening

 

 EXPLANATION OF DIFFERENT CHORES

CLEANING THE HOUSE HOLD

This chore involves a process of making the house and its surroundings free from dirt, marks and unwanted matter, via, scrubbing floors and walls and also cleaning windows.  Cleaning and packing of cupboards, cleaning the toilets and bathrooms and the yard (outside surroundings) so as to be free from any form of dirt.  Dish washing after meals. Light cleaning chemicals are usually used for this chores. Window cleaning involves climbing on top of something like a chair to be able to reach the top part of the window. Children could be at risk of falling and sustain injuries. This also includes making up ones bed.

COOKING

This involves the preparation of food for member of household; starting with breakfast and lunch packs for school going children. Different sources of energy are used to cook e.g. wood, gas or electricity. Hot water and oil are the most dangerous ingredients used. Utensils like sharp knives are also used. It also includes dishing up the food.

SERVING MEALS

When a portion of quantity of food or drink, taken as part of a meal, is given to others in the household.

LAUNDRY

Clothes and linen that need to be washed or have been washed and needs to be ironed and packed away. Washing powder or other strong and poisonous detergents made of chemicals are used. Hot irons are used to iron clothes. This also includes fetching water for communities where water provision is still a dream; they have to walk to the rivers and communal taps to get water for their laundry.

WATER FETCHING

Bringing water from any source of water e.g. from the well, river, dam or a common tap in the village or community 20 liters containers and bigger ones are used to fetch water. This chore is the most exhausting and time consuming.

The ILO undertook a follow up study on the impact of the delivery of water services on the lives of children with special attention to educational achievements and school attendance (ILO. 2012). The study was done in some parts of rural Kwazulu Natal and Limpopo. If revealed that children sometimes undertake an hour’s trip to the water source and spend more time digging the water from the ground or queuing awaiting their turn. And if the water comes out dirty, they have to look for another spot to dig, which could be further. It can take up to three hours to get water. The amount of time spent is even more during dry seasons.

Children sometimes make two trips, in the morning before school and in the afternoon to fill large drums with water. However in areas where communal taps are still functioning and within 200m, children fetch water mainly in the afternoon because they can make trips much quicker. This one chore where boys are noticeably also involved and able to carry larger amounts of quantity by using wheelbarrows or rolling very big containers on the ground to their homes.  This activity is predominant in rural areas and informal settlements where water infrastructure is poor or non-existent.

WOOD FETCHING

Collect wood from the bushes in order to use it for cooking and warming the body. It involves walking long distances while carrying stacks of wood, usually on the head. Most rural villagers still collect wood, even in areas where electricity has been installed, because most households cannot afford to buy electricity.

 

The demand is higher during winter as household members need to warm themselves and warm bathing water. They walk through the bushes where they risk being attacked by people and animals. Walking in groups seem to be the best strategy for security. This is predominant in rural areas and informal settlements.

CARING FOR SIBLINGS, THE SICK AND THE AGED IN THE FAMILY

The oldest of the orphaned children automatically become the caregivers of their younger siblings. In some instances, where parents died due to complications related to HIV and AIDS there could be an infected child and that needs to be cared for when sick. It also involves making sure that they are ready to go to school in the morning, assist them with homework, etc.

 

 In households where there is a sick or very old member, the children assist in feeding and bathing them, mainly before and after school. This activity is one that results in most children missing school or dropping out of school. In some areas, there are home based care workers who assist with the sick and very old.

SHOPPING FOR HOUSEHOLD GOODS

Children heading families must ensure that there are groceries in the house. In rural areas far from the town, they will carry groceries and walk a distance from the local shop. Children are sent to shops in the community and at times they are abused because they can be sent many times in a day, as long as the older person identifies a need. It can be a very hot or cold day or even in rainy weather.

WASHING FAMILY VEHICLES

Family members who own cars sometimes rely on children to clean their personal cars or even business vehicles. Most of the time, weather is not considered.

AGE AND APPROPRIATE TIME SPENT PER WEEK

UNICEF has developed an expanded definition that covers household chores in addition to economic activities. UNICEF’s definition at the child labour indicator considers a child to be involved in child labour activities under the following classification:

 

a.      Children 5 to 11 years of age that during the week preceding the survey did at least one hour of economic activity or at least 26 hours of domestic work (household chores).

b.      Children 12 to 14 years of age that during the week preceding the survey did at least 14 hours economic activity or al least42 hours of economic activity and domestic cork combined

c.       However Friedrich Humble, 2008, in his international education statistic, refers to UNICEF’s Child Labour indicator as follows:

 

12 to 14 years – 28 hours or more household chores per week

 

15 to 17 years – any hazardous work, including any work for 43 hours or more per week.

 

Humbler further states that the threshold for household chores is set relatively high because it is assumed that household chores are less harmful than the economic activities. Moreover, the high threshold of 28 hours household chores per week avoids a possible overestimation of the number of child laborers.

The Survey of Activities of Young People, 2010 Report, uses the higher cut-offs used for the SAYP 1999 in determining children who worked more than a specified minimum number of hours on economic, household and school related work.

The weekly cut-off are set at:

Three or more hours in total of core economic activities plus collecting fuel and water.

Seven or more hours in total of housework and care for household members.

 

ACCEPTABLE HOUSE  CHORES

APPROPRIATE AGE

AMOUNT OF TIME SPENT PER WEEK

Cleaning the household

7-11 years

(with  supervision)

3 hours

12-17 years

( with supervision)

7 hours

Cooking

12-17 years

(with supervision)

7 hours

Serving meals

8-14 years

15-17 years

1 hour

1 and a half hours

Laundry

10-14 years

(own smaller items)

2 hours

15-17 years

5 hours

Caring for siblings/sick or aged

person

15-17 years

7 hours

 

 

 

 

ACCEPTABLE HH CHORES

APPROPRIATE AGE

AMOUNT OF TIME PER WEEK SPENT

Water fetching

7-11 years

(Short distance with smaller containers e.g. 10 liters. Also walking in groups)

5 hours

12-17 years

(walking in groups where sources are far)

10 hours

Wood fetching

10-14 years

(with smaller loads and under supervision)

5 hours

15-18 years

(walking in groups)

10 hours

Shopping for household goods

8-14 years

(shops in the vicinity – during the day)

3 hours

15-17 years

5 hours

Washing family vehicles

12-17 years

1 hour

 

Herding of livestock

10-12 years

5 hours

 

Gardening

8-17 years

(with supervision)

3 hours





















TYPES OF WORK

AGE

PROBLEMS

BENEFITS

 Cleaning of the household

7-11

Cleaning chemical can be dangerous when used without insight.

Equipment like step ladders or whatever is used to climb in

Making ones bed

Every morning teaches

Them tidiness and

responsibility

When children are given.

 

12-17

Order to reach higher surfaces of walls or windows. Sometimes children are expected to clean the house very early in the morning before they actually go to school. They are likely to be very exhausted to concentrate in class

Less risky cleaning chores like sweeping the floors, they also feel that they have a role to play in the house hold. For families who give their children pocket money, this could be a good opportunity to let them earn their pocket money and teach them that money is always seared.

 

Cooking /meal preparation

 

12-17

The type of fires and stoves used when cooking are a huge risk.

Ingredients like hot oil and water are also dangerous.

There is a risk of cutting themselves with sharp knives if they do not know

How to handle them.

This can be beneficial as a learning opportunity for children 15 years and older.

 

Serving meals

8-17

There aren’t serious dangers except with tea pots, which should be handled  

With care.

This chore assists with bonding among family members and instilling a sense of responsibility. Children from 7 years can assist with serving food


 

 

 

 

TYPE OF WORK

 

AGE

 

PROBLEMS

 

BENEFITS

Laundry

10-14

This is heavy work and should not be done by the under 10 year olds.

This age group can wash their own items as a way of teaching them the chores and responsibility.

 

15-17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This can be huge loads of clothes, depending on the size of the household.

 

 

There is potential to suffer from back ache as a result of the posture and amount of time it takes to complete the task.

 

The chemicals used can be very harsh on the skin.

 

 

The hot iron used to iron wrinkled clothes needs someone who can handle it with care.

 

 

Some still use the old irons that get very hot all over because they can’t afford electricity or it  has not been installed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



























BENEFITS AND PROBLEMS

TYPE OF  WORK

AGE

PROBLEMS

BENEFITS

Water fetching

7-17

Heavy loads of water are carried by children. They travel long distances and spend a long time in queues waiting their turn. Some fetch water from dangerous wells and rivers.

 

They run risk of being attacked along the way. This is very exhausting and deprives them of the time to just be

 

Children and play and also limits their time to do school work.

 

 

Children hate repetitive and less stimulating work and activities.

 

There is no benefit. Clean water should be supplied to all.

 

Fetching wood

 

 

 

 

 

 

10-17

 

 

 

 

 

 

The problems are the same as those in water fetching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no benefit for children doing this chore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping for household goods

 

 

8-17

 

 

In some areas the shops are quite a distance.

 

Some adults or older children can send the younger ones to the shops many times and in very hot weather.

 

 

 Children are at risk of being abducted or kidnapped on the way

 

.

 

 

It is one way of involving children in the household activities for as long as identified problems are dealt with or avoided.

Washing family

vehicles

12-17

Children will get sick if this task is performed in very cold, very hot weather or when it is raining.

Children are taught responsibility to take care of family properties.

Livestock

herding

10-17

During winter months this task is performed while it is dark in the morning.

 

Children could be attacked while in the bushes herding livestock.

 

 

They go in groups and play games while the animals are grazing.

Gardening

8-17

There isn’t a lot of risks involved except where pesticides are used

 

 

Children learn to look after the environment.


ACT

To give effect to the Republic’s obligations concerning the trafficking of persons in terms of international agreements; to provide for an offence of trafficking in persons and other offences associated with trafficking in persons; to provide for penalties that may be imposed in respect of the offences; to provide for measures to protect and assist victims of trafficking in persons; to provide for the coordinated implementation, application and administration of this Act; to prevent and combat the trafficking in persons within or across the borders of the Republic; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

PREAMBLE

RECOGNISING that the search for improved socio-economic circumstances and the demand for the services of victims of trafficking contribute to making persons vulnerable to becoming victims of trafficking;

CONCERNED by the increase of trafficking in persons, especially women and children, and the role played by organised criminal networks in the trafficking of persons globally;

SINCE the South African common law and statutory law do not deal with the problem of trafficking in persons adequately;

AND SINCE the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, enshrines the right to human dignity, equality, the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause, and not to be treated in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way, the right not to be subjected to slavery, servitude or forced labour, and the right of children to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation; and

MINDFUL of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, 2000, and other international agreements which place obligations on the Republic of South Africa towards the combating and ultimately, the eradication of trafficking in persons,

Parliament of the Republic of South Africa therefore enacts as follows:—