Definition Unit for Combat of Child Labour in Lebanon
Ministry of Labour
International Labour Organization
Unit's Library



Priority Areas for IPEC – Lebanon
• Summary of IPEC – Lebanon Projects
Action Programmes of IPEC – Lebanon


Structure MOL - click here to view the chart
• Dept. Labor Force • Office • Dept. Occup.Relations • Div. Of Regional Offices  
• Div.Family Protection

• Div.Foreign Labor Force

• Div.Of Employement

• Div.Vocational Training

• Div.Child Protection
• Registrar

• Div.Of Ext.Affairs

• Div.Personnel

• Div.Statistics

• Div.Occup.Relations & Synd

    • Sect.Occup.Relations
Sect.of Syndicates

• Div.Of Inspectorate& OSH

• Div.Of Investigation

• Div.Mont Leb

• Div.North

• Div.South

• Div.Bekaa

• Div.Nabatieh

• Div.Beirut


The Basic Organizational Chart of the Ministry of Labor
The general directorate

The Bureau

The responsibilities of the bureau:
The bureau of the general directorate of the ministry of labor undertakes all the responsibilities related to written work, legal and organizational studies, administrative issues, the employees affairs, the accounting work, revisions, and complaints. Moreover, it undertakes the collection of labor and social statistics, in addition to conducting research and International relations. The register of the bureau records the transactions that include Arab and international administrative and financial, trade unions and public institutions correspondence, in addition to administrative bodies, general security, and state council. There are transactions and correspondence that include financial and organizational decrees, law proposals, bilateral conventions, and committee proposals. It also includes decisions, agendas, statements, and conventions based on the following topics:
- Participate in Arab, Regional, and in the seminars and conferences.
- Discipline and organize the work of foreigners, the conditions of bringing maids, Establish syndicates and trade unions, abolish the work vacations, and establish offices for bringing maids.
- Prepare Agendas and decisions related to the organization of the work of foreigners.
- Form a committee to make amendments to some of the provisions of the law of social security.
- Form a national committee to combat child labor.

The units of the bureau:
1. The division of accounting and employees:

The division of accounting and employees undertakes the following responsibilities:
1. Perform the Accounting work, the employees affairs, and related work.
2. Organize the personal files of the employees, and the documents of every employee.
3. Organize and keep the forms of administrative vacations.
4. Put the tables of the gradation of the employees, in addition to revising their retiring dates.
5. Keep the cards of evaluating the employee’s annual performance.

2. The division of legal affairs and guardianship:

The division of legal affairs and guardianship undertakes the following responsibilities:
1. Study the periodical reports issued by the service of labor, vocational relations, and the service of workforce concerning the provisions of the Lebanese law of labor; in addition to giving their opinions concerning making the necessary amendments for the provisions in accordance with the new recommendations.
2. Secure the work related to the practice of guardianship by the ministry of labor on the public institutions under its guardianship.
3. Pay attention to the claims and give the opinion related to the reconciliation contracts.
4. Rewrite the conventions texts in the legal terminology.
5. Give legal consultation to the different units of the ministry.
6. Conduct a comparative study between the reality of the Lebanese legislation and the recent regional and international conventions and recommendations.

3. The division of external relations:

The responsibilities of the division of external relations are defined as follows:
- Strengthen the relations of the ministry with the Arab, regional, and international bodies, in addition to preparing the means of participation in the meetings of these bodies.
- Prepare and follow up the projects of technical cooperation with the Arab, Regional, and international organizations, through the cooperation with the specialized departments.
- Prepare for the meetings of the international Labor Organization and other related bodies, and the meetings of other Arab, Regional, and International organizations concerned with the responsibilities of the ministry of labor.
- Study the Arab and International Conventions and recommendations issued by organizations concerned with the responsibilities of the ministry of labor.

4. The division of statistics:

The division of statistics undertakes the collection of information related to labor and social status, in addition to the labor statistics in the private institutions and the different units of the ministry of labor; studies these information, and make statistical analysis in order to define the social, labor, and trade unions problems, and suggest convenient solutions with the cooperation of the two specialized services. Moreover, it undertakes the responsibility of disseminating the research and statistical studies with the cooperation of the service of central statistics.

1. The service of vocational relations:
This service consists of three departments:
1. The department of labor inspection, prevention, and safety;
2. The department of investigation and labor issues; and
3. The department of vocational relations and trade unions.

1. the department of labor inspection, prevention, and safety:

The department of labor inspection, prevention, and safety undertakes the following responsibilities:
- Receive the inspection reports from the labor inspectors in the central departments and the regions.
- Collect the statistics mentioned in the reports of labor inspectors, and submits it to the division of statistics.
- Give licenses to use the machines in the factories and institutions in Beirut, in accordance with the related systems.
- Study the reasons of vocational sicknesses and the work emergencies, in addition to the ways of prevention.
- Collect and disseminate the information and graphical data, and the designs that directs and educate those who are concerned, on the means of prevention and safety at work, with the cooperation of the specialized departments of the ministry of public health.

In the department, there are inspectors who undertake the following responsibilities:

- Supervise the implementation of laws and rules related to work, the prevention of workers and their safety, through periodic inspection of factories and institutions in Beirut city.
- Give warnings and regulate disciplinary reports of violations when necessary.
- Work on improving the relationship between employers and employees.
- Give advice and guidance to insure safety and prevention at work through all available means.

2. The department of investigation and labor issues:

It undertakes the responsibilities of Looking into cases of individual and collective conflicts between employers and employees, and look into related cases. Moreover, it studies the consultation demands to end the work contracts for some or all the workers in institutions passing in financial difficulties such as collective complaints, and the mediation demands.

2. The department of vocational relations and trade unions:
This department consists of the following divisions:
1. The division of trade unions; and
2. The division of vocational relations.

2. The service of workforce:

The service of workforce undertakes the preparation of law proposals related to the workforce and employment affairs, the work of foreigners, vocational training, the protection of the families and associations, in addition to finding disciplines that protect the Lebanese workforce, study all the transactions submitted to the service, give the necessary suggestions, and take a decision concerning the transactions.

The service also performs the following work and activities:
- Participate in studying the International labor conventions and compare it with the Lebanese legislations, in addition to offering the necessary suggestions and recommendations.
- Participate in the meetings of the committee of arbitration authorized to solve the collective work conflicts.
- Participate in the International labor conferences.
- Participate in the administrative council of the national center for vocational training.
- Conduct meetings with employers and employees, and trade unions, and economic parties, to discuss issues related to the employment of the Lebanese and foreign workforce , urge the employers to employ Lebanese persons instead of foreigners, and try to secure new work opportunities to the Lebanese people.
- coordinate with the national employment office in all the issues related to the employment projects and programs, in addition to activating the central employment office, and submit the license applications for employing foreigners to be studied.
- Coordinate with the directorate of general security in common issues related to the work of foreigners.
- Study the projects of bilateral labor conventions with the Arab and foreign countries.
- Supervise, directly and continuously, the administrative units related to the service.
- Study the transactions registered in the service, or submitted from different units of the ministry.

The service of workforce consists of:
- The department of vocational training;
- The department of protecting families and associations;
- The department of employment;
- The department of protecting minors; and
- The department of controlling the work of foreigners.

1. The department of vocational training:

The department of vocational training undertakes the following responsibilities:
- Register, ratify, and supervise the implementation of vocational training contracts.
- Supervise the vocational training centers established or financially supported by the ministry of labor, or related bodies.
- Prepare the necessary studies of the need for vocational training, organize the training contracts, and give capacity training certificates. The procedures that should be followed must be defined.

2. The department of protecting families and associations:

The authorities of this department was wide, because it included many social issues, namely those related to supervising the charitable institutions and associations, offer social guidance, give social donations for emergent accidents, give scholarships for the children of dead employees, and prepare for the social magazine issued by the ministry. Yet, after the establishment of the ministry of social affairs, a department for associations was established. This department undertakes most of the responsibilities that was undertaken by the department of associations in the ministry of labor. Consequently, the responsibilities of the department were limited to preparing the reports related to giving scholarships and social donations. This department can perform a more effective role on the social level, if sufficient funds were allocated to social donations that are given to workers when exposed to emergent accidents that cause a permanent or partial deficiency.

3. The department of employment:
- Supervise and control the employment offices.
- Receive the employment applications and work contracts, and make the necessary contacts in this context.
- Register the workers in the institutions, give the employment books for workers, and give work certificates.

This department faced many difficulties in undertaking its responsibilities, due to the small number of administrative members and its employees. Therefore, it is necessary to activate this department, because the issue of employment became one of the important priority issues of the countries, because the organization of labor in society, and securing new work opportunities should be paid more attention. The developing and non-developing countries are implementing employment plans and programs; this requires the establishment of a complete and specialized body to undertake these responsibilities. The department is exerting efforts to activate the national employment office and coordinate with it to conduct necessary studies about the situation of the workforce, in addition to conducting a global assessment for this purpose. These efforts led to the establishment of a central employment office in Beirut, and now there is a tendency to establish regional employment offices in the governorates in order to find work opportunities for the Lebanese people, and guide them to the job vacancies and required jobs in order to rehabilitate the number of persons required to fill these jobs.

4. The department of minor’s protection:
After the establishment of the ministry of social affairs, a department for protecting minors was established. Therefore, the authorities and responsibilities of this department were transformed to the ministry of social affairs; consequently, this department no longer exists in the ministry of labor.

5. The department of supervising the work of foreigners:

This department undertakes the study and execution of the licenses of work for foreigners. It is considered one of the active departments of the ministry, due to the large number of applications it receives from the foreigners who are working or who would like to work in Lebanon. The total number of registered applications in the year 2001 reached to 31642, whereas the number of applications in 2000 was 28379. This decrease in the number of applications is due to the policy followed by the ministry in controlling the foreign workers and servants in different professions and sectors. Therefore, the previously approved applications were limited to the applications of female house maids in the individual’s houses, and to some experts who are not available in Lebanon. No application is registered unless the central employment office accepts it, and the journals announce the need for the required jobs within 15 days.


I -Labor legislation in Lebanon
The Lebanese labor law was enacted in 1949 .Its enforcement is entrusted to MOL; it has undergone a number of amendments the most prominent was in 1996, which is referred later in this paper. One key event in the history of this law was the appointment in 1995 of 5 physicians & 6 engineers who formed the core of OSH inspection.

II- Role of the OSH inspectors
Our group belongs to the division of Occupational Safety & Health in the Ministry of Labor (MOL), which is becoming an important division in the ministry despite its rank in the structure of the MOL (Appendix 1).These inspectors take active part in field inspection, awareness campaigns, issuing pamphlets on occupational hazards prevention & legislation issues.

Inspection visits at workplace are carried on routinely and as needed .Our inspection is always instructive & never was of oppressive character. During the visits advices are given to the workers & their supervisors' .Also, the managers are included in these supportive & advisory visits. Many lectures were presented to the three partite members on the importance of safety at workplace, methods of prevention & health protection. The subjects of these lectures included occupational health in general and specific industrial hazards such as asbestos risks, dust, noise & workplace injuries. Awareness Pamphlets in many occupational fields were issued such as hospitals, lead industry and to workers in the field of alimentary productions.
Awareness campaigns were also launched such as AIDS at workplace, noise in industry & occupational injuries.

With respect to legislative issues; the inspectors (physicians & engineers) played a key role in ratification of Convention 136 in 1999, C.182in 2001 & C.138 in 2002.Also they took a major role in reform of Labor code 536 (24/7/1996); articles 22 Its absolutely prohibited to employ children before completion of 13 yrs of age & 23 Its prohibited to employ children before completion of 15 yrs of age in industrial projects , work in exhaustive circumstances or in circumstances which are likely to harm the health ,as well as children before completion of 16 yrs of age in hazardous occupational circumstances or are likely to threaten life, harm health safety or morals of children. Decree 700 (25/5/1999) was issued where child labor before completion of 16 yrs was prohibited & according tables were modified (Appendix 2). Labor Code 116 (25/10/1999) prohibited handling and working with benzene & its derivatives for les than 18 yrs of age.

III- Establishment of Child Labor Unit
MOL is one of the institutions that are involved in elimination of child labor in Lebanon .So the division of the inspectorate & OSH experts are involved now directly in this problem .Recently (Oct 2001) a specialized unit CLU (Child Labor Unit) within the MOL concerned with the fight against child labor was established. Its objective is to plan, manage and coordinate child labor related activities. Also establish a data base on child labor in Lebanon and legal framework for child labor will have reviewed and national legislation harmonized with international standards. Thus at the end of the program ,awareness arising and advocacy programs will have been developed and implemented to sensitize public and policy makers to bring about changes that will improve the situation of child labor. Finally 15 labor inspectors at central & regional levels will have been capacitated to identify and remove 500 children from hazardous work, monitor workplaces and provide social protection through the establishment of close collaboration with relevant institutions.
Its goal is to eradicate child labor by:
• Raising awareness on the child labor problem;
• Making widely known the international and Arab conventions on child labor;
• Contributing to the development, unification and classification of national laws related to child labor;
• Contributing to the establishment of national strategies and action plans to enforce the eradication of child labor.

The reasons for establishment of the unit are the magnitude and the negative impact of child labor problem on children in particular & on the society as a whole, in general.
To highlight the fields of action of the unit:
• Contribute to the development & enforcement of laws related to child labor
• Define the worst form of child labor
• Seek to involve the local community in development programs aimed at the combat of child labor
• Raise awareness on the dangers of child labor
• Promulgate the child's rights stressing on the right of each child to free & compulsory education
• Receive complaints regarding the violation of the provisions related to child labor
• Establish a database on child labor and identify sources of statistics
• Establish a specialized library on child labor
• Establish a Web site on child labor
• Develop vocational training programs for working children
• Organize specialized training sessions for those involved with child labor


IV- Role of OSH in implementing Convention (# 182, 1999)
OSH expertise can be effectively utilized in the implementation of C.182 in the following, after selection of a group of inspectors; they must undergo special training to upgrade their skills in order to:
1- Enforce revised legislation
2- Visit the workplaces to determine the working conditions of children in terms of health and safety at work.
3- Prepare monitoring visits schedules for workplaces in the selected sectors on continuous basis
4- Provide consultancy and guidelines to employers on improving working conditions
5- Determine the health and safety risks children face and develop solutions for the elimination of the risks
6- Revisit the workplaces to ensure the risks to children are eliminated.
7- Determine the procedures for medical check ups according to the working conditions of children & collecting health information about the children; Keeping in mind of regular medical check ups for them
8- Record and document the cases and take up legal action against the offenders
9- Develop data collection sheets for the monitoring of workplaces
10- Identify children under age of 18 & withdraw them from the worst forms of child labor
11- Ensure the referral of ex-child laborers to the social support services
12- Document and promulgate monthly reports on the status of the working children in selected sectors
13- Carry on awareness campaigns at workplaces and wide utilization of the media in launching these campaigns, issuing pamphlets illustrating and elaborating on the impact of worst form of child labor
14- Establish referral mechanism with the ministry of social affairs and ongoing IPEC action programs to ensure that children receive rehabilitate services.

V- Comparative analysis between the Convention & the labor law
Despite the ratification of C.182, there is still an effort to be made to approach Lebanese legislation to that of C 182.However there are a lot of common but some gaps and differences still exist such as:

-Art.2;The term "child"; Shall apply to all persons under age 18 - Still in Lebanese legislation children are divided  according to age; above 13 - child & above full 15- adolescent and due to this discrepancy in definition of a child ,we can encounter there  some worst forms of child labor performed by "children"

- No sharp or clear cut  definition of worst form of child labor despite there are scattered labor codes about slavery or practices similar to slavery including labor mentioned in Art.3 a,b,c ,etc. But d (circumstances likely to  harm the health, safety or morals of children) has almost the same concept as in C.182

-Programs are under design to be implemented


- Art.3;The term "The worst forms of child labor"


-Not enough severe & strict sanctions are taken according to the violation of the provisions of  C. 182

- Indeed, Lebanese labor law legislated compulsory education in1998 (Decree 686), but it didn't indicate the age of children that are subject to basic education. On the other hand, it is not correlated with that of national legislation regarding child labor .Also practically; compulsory education is not implemented due to non resolution of many economical problems in the country. It worth to mention that vocational training is going on but its still not enough


-Art.6/2;"program of action shall be designed & implemented…"
-Art.7/1 "… provision and application of application of penal sanctions..."
-Art.7/2 with its subdivisions                                                                                 

In addition to the above mentioned gaps, there are categories of population so far that are excluded (not subjected) from Lebanese labor code -including children-
a- Home maids
b- Family business
c- Agricultural unions that are not involved in industry or commerce.

Finally, we would like to inform you that in the Lebanese house of parliament there is a project reform of Labor law under finalization, where almost all the defects that were mentioned above are going to be resolved including age of child labor, abolishing worst forms of child labor, compulsory vocational training and many other important issues.

Indeed a lot of work in elimination of child labor was done by the national, regional & international organizations. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to do hopping that our meeting & mutual effort will give a pace forward to achieve our aim.

A detailed summary of the activities of CLU appears in the attached slides.