In the province of Punjab, special laws have been enacted benefiting children, including:

Punjab Maternity Benefit Ordinance, 1958 

The Punjab Maternity Benefit Ordinance, 1958 ensures the well-being and protection of pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace. By providing maternity leave, financial assistance, and safeguards against discrimination, the ordinance promotes gender equality and supports women’s reproductive rights. The ordinance contributes to the overall development and welfare of society by fostering a more inclusive and equitable work culture in Punjab. 

Section 3 prohibits the employment or work of women in any establishments for a period of six weeks after childbirth. The provision further states that pregnant women are not permitted to engage in any work that is of an arduous nature during a period of six weeks before and after childbirth. The provision recognises the physical demands and potential risks associated with strenuous work for pregnant women and new mothers. The Act aims to protect their health and well-being by ensuring they are not exposed to excessive physical strains and hazards that could jeopardize their own safety or that of their unborn or newborn child. Section 4 deals with the right to and liability for the payment of maternity benefits. The provision states that eligible women have the right to receive maternity benefits during their period of maternity leave. Additionally, the employer is liable to pay these benefits to the woman at the rate of her wages or salary for the duration of her leave, provided the individual has been employed for a minimum of four months prior to childbirth. Section 7 prohibits an employer from terminating or dismissing a woman from her employment during her maternity leave period without a reasonable cause. The purpose of these provisions is to protect women from unfair treatment and ensure job security during this critical time. Moreover, Section 9 prescribes punishment for an employer who contravenes any provision of this Ordinance, in which case the individual shall be liable to a fine which may extend to three thousand rupees. 

The Protection of Breast-Feeding and Child Nutrition Ordinance, 2002 

The Protection of Breast-feeding and Child Nutrition Ordinance, 2002 promotes and protects breastfeeding and child nutrition in Punjab. The Act emphasizes the importance of exclusive breastfeeding an infant for the first six months and encourages continued breastfeeding alongside appropriate complementary feeding up to two years or beyond. The Act prohibits the promotion of breast milk substitutes and ensures that accurate information is provided to families about the benefits of breastfeeding. 

Section 3 directs the provincial government to establish the Punjab Infant Feeding Board. Section 4 empowers the Board to promote, protect, and monitor the implementation of the ordinance. The Board has the authority to conduct inquiries, inspections, and assessments to ensure compliance with the provisions of the ordinance, including monitoring the marketing and promotion of breastmilk substitutes and taking appropriate action against any violations. Section 7 outlines specific practices that are prohibited in relation to the marketing and promotion of breast milk substitutes. The provision prohibits the advertising, promotion, or distribution of breast milk substitutes through health workers or health facilities. Section 11 focuses on quality assurance measures for breast milk substitutes. The provision ensures that the manufacturing, labeling, and distribution of these products comply with specific standards recommended by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the Codex Code of Hygienic Practice for Foods for Infants and Children to guarantee their safety and nutritional quality. Moreover, Section 17 pertains to the penalties for individuals and entities held liable for breaching the ordinance. The provision prescribes punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees or more than five hundred thousand rupees, or both. 

Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children’s Act, 2004 (PNDCA, 2004)

Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children’s Act was promulgated in 2004 for the protection of destitute and neglected child. A “destitute and neglected child” is defined as a person under the age of 18 “who is found begging; or is found without having any home or settled place of abode, and without any ostensible means of subsistence; or has a parent or guardian who is unfit or incapacitated to exercise control over the child; or lives in brothel or with a prostitute”; “is being or is likely to be abused or exploited”; “is beyond parental control”; “is at risk owing to disability or child labour”; has lost one or both parents, or has been abandoned by his parent or guardian; “is victim of an offence … his parent or guardian is convicted or accused of”; “is imprisoned with the mother or born in jail”.

Under the Act, Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CP&WB) was established, with its management vested in a board chaired by the Chief Minister. The board can set up a fund in order to carry out the CP&WB’s purpose; set up child protection institutions; and oversee prosecution of offences under the act. The CP&WB is responsible for appointing child protection officers, mainly to rescue neglected and destitute children and be able to produce them in court, for which the officers can seek police assistance. The CP&WB can establish child protection units anywhere in Punjab.  The Act also requires the government to establish child protection courts that have the power to order for a child to be produced in court; grant custody to a suitable person or institution; issue search warrants for a child; and order parents to provide for maintenance of their child in protective custody. So far, the government has been able to establish only one such court, which sits within the CP&WB’s premises in Lahore.

Punjab Healthcare Commission Act, 2010 

The Punjab Healthcare Commission Act, 2010 establishes a regulatory body to ensure the quality of healthcare services in Punjab. The Act aims to improve the standards of healthcare facilities, protect the rights of patients, and promote transparency and accountability within the healthcare sector. 

Section 3 establishes the Punjab Healthcare Commission as an autonomous regulatory body responsible for overseeing healthcare services in the province. Section 4 empowers the Commission to regulate, inspect, and monitor healthcare establishments and evaluate their performance to ensure ongoing compliance with the set standards, as well as to investigate complaints and take necessary actions to ensure the provision of safe and quality healthcare services to the people of Punjab. In addition to these functions, the Commission is also granted certain powers, which include the authority to conduct inspections and assessments, gather information, issue licenses, take disciplinary actions against non-compliant facilities, and impose penalties or fines when necessary. Section 5 establishes a Board as the governing body of the Commission. Section 9 outlines the function and powers of the Board, including developing policies and guidelines related to the functions of the commissions, approving regulations that align with the objectives of the Act, monitoring the commission’s performance, and advising the provincial government on matters related to healthcare regulation and improvement. 

Section 10 directs the Board to establish a Technical Advisory Committee to support its functions. The Committee is responsible for providing expert advice and recommendations to the Board on technical matters related to healthcare regulation and improvement. The Committee comprises professionals from various relevant fields, such as medicine, nursing, mental health, and other specialties. Moreover, Section 14 prohibits a healthcare establishment from operating without a valid license issued by the Commission, since the Commission has the authority to grant, renew, suspend, or cancel licenses based on compliance with the prescribed standards and regulations. Furthermore, Section 34 mandates the Commission to prepare and submit an annual report to the provincial government. The report includes details about the activities, programs, and initiatives undertaken by the Commission the preceding year. The purpose of the annual report is to provide transparency, accountability, and a comprehensive overview of the Commission’s performance to the government and other relevant stakeholders. 

Punjab Protection of Breast-Feeding and Child Nutrition (Amendment) Act, 2012

Punjab Protection of Breast-Feeding and Child Nutrition (Amendment) Act, 2012 is an Act to protect breastfeeding and feeding and nutrition for infants and young children and to further promote and protect the right of women to breastfeed their children in public places and at work places. This law was originally passed as the Breast-Feeding and Child Nutrition Ordinance in 2002 by the federal government. However, the 18th Constitutional Amendment the issue was devolved to the provinces, and so it was adapted in 2012 with amendments for Punjab province. The Act also aims to improve child nutrition by encouraging the consumption of locally available nutritious food and restricting the advertisement of unhealthy food products to children. The law also includes provisions for penalties for non-compliance, such as fines or imprisonment. It is a way to promote maternal and child health in the region.

Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2014

The Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2014 ensures that children between the ages of 5-16 have the right to receive free and compulsory education in Punjab. The Act seeks to ensure that children have access to quality education without any discrimination or barriers in the Province. 

Section 2(c) defines a ‘disadvantaged child’ as a child belonging to a socially and economically disadvantaged group. The Act aims to ensure equal educational opportunities for all children and addresses barriers that hinder the access and participation of disadvantaged children in education. Section 3 entitles every child between the ages of 5-16 to receive free and compulsory education, non-formal education, or/and vocational education without any discrimination based on gender, caste, or religion. Section 4 mandates the Provincial Government to provide free education to every child, ensure compulsory admission, attendance, and completion of education, provide safe commuting facilities for the child, monitor functioning of schools, and provide infrastructure, trained staff, and age-appropriate curriculum. 

Moreover, Section 8 mandates a local authority to ensure that a sufficient number of schools are established and maintained within a specified area to provide education to all children residing in that area, as well as to use schools in evening hours as required to ensure the effective implementation of the Act. Section 9 addresses the duty of parents or guardians. The provision imposes liability on them to ensure that their child attends school regularly and completes the required course of study until the completion of elementary education, except in the case of a reasonable excuse where the child is deemed incapable of attending school by reason of any infirmity or mental incapacity. Section 10 entails that the provincial government shall make arrangements for providing free pre-school education for children aged 3 until they join school, to ensure that children receive a strong foundation before entering formal schooling by focusing on early childhood development. Section 11 directs the provincial government or local authority to establish a School Management Body to regulate and ensure the effective implementation of the Act. Furthermore, Section 14 prohibits schools to collect capitation fees or charge any additional fees and also prohibits them from conducting any form of screening, testing, or evaluation procedure that may discriminate against or exclude children from admission. The Act specifies that anyone who fails to comply with the provision shall be punished with twenty times the capitation fee charged and a fine of fifty thousand to one hundred thousand for subjecting a child to a screening procedure. 

Punjab Reproductive, Maternal, Neo-Natal and Child Health Authority Act, 2014

The Punjab Reproductive, Maternal, Neo-Natal and Child Health Authority Act, 2014  aims to improve maternal and child health and reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity in the province by establishing the Punjab Reproductive, Maternal, Neo-Natal and Child Health Authority (PRMNCHA). The main objective of the Act is to improve maternal, neo-natal and child health, family planning and reproductive health services in the province through establishing guidelines, standards, and protocols to improve the quality of care provided in the province. 

Section 3 directs the provincial government to establish the Punjab Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Authority. Section 7 empowers the Authority with certain powers and functions, including formulating policies and strategies, implementing programs and initiatives, coordinating and collaborating with relevant stakeholders to ensure a comprehensive approach, establish guidelines, standards, and protocols for healthcare providers, monitoring and evaluating the implementation and impact of programs, take measures for entering into contracts including concession agreements, granting licenses and other contractual instruments. Moreover, Section 9 grants power to the Board to establish committees, as required, for carrying out the purposes of the Act. 

Punjab Prohibition of Child Labour at Brick Kilns Act, 2016

The Punjab Prohibition of Child Labour at Brick Kilns Act, 2016 aims to prohibit the employment of children under the age of 14 years in brick kilns. The Act makes it illegal for any person to employ or permit the employment of a child at a brick kiln, or to cause or permit a child to work in any capacity at a brick kiln. The Act also provides for the inspection of brick kilns to ensure compliance with the law and for the prosecution of employers who violate the Act. The Act also provides for the rehabilitation of children who are found to have been employed in contravention of the Act, including their education and vocational training. The Act was passed to protect the rights of children and to ensure that they are not forced to work in hazardous conditions at brick kilns and to provide them with access to education and other rights.

Punjab Restriction on Employment Children Act, 2016

Punjab Restriction on Employment Children Act, 2016 prohibits the employment of children and to restrict the employment of adolescents in certain occupations and processes. A child is defined a person who has not attained the age of fifteen years whereas “adolescent” means a person who has attained the age of fifteen years but has not attained the age of eighteen years. The Act specifies that an occupier shall not employ or permit a child to work in the establishment. The Act provides a lit of 38 occupations, and the occupier shall not employ or permit an adolescent to perform any hazardous work in the establishment. Under the Act, the Government shall constitute a Committee to be called the Provincial Committee on Child Labour to advise the Government for appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the eradication of child labour and, subject to Article 11 of the Constitution, to propose the minimum age for purposes of employment in the Province.

Punjab Domestic Workers Act, 2019

The Punjab Domestic Workers Act, 2019 aims to protect the rights of domestic workers. The law defines domestic workers as individuals who work in a private household and provides them with a range of rights, including the right to a minimum wage, the right to social security benefits, and the right to a safe and healthy working environment. The law also includes provisions for the regulation of employment agencies that recruit domestic workers, as well as penalties for employers who violate the rights of their domestic workers. This Act bans the working of a child under the age of 15 years in a household in any manner, and allows the Child under the age of 18 years to engage in light work in domestic setting. The light work has also been defined in the Act under section 3 which “means a domestic work which is part-time in nature and is not likely to harm health, safety and education of a domestic worker”.

Punjab Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Amendment) Act, 2019 

The Punjab Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Amendment) Act, 2019 establishes a regulatory body that focuses on technical education and vocational training in Punjab. The Act aims to enhance the quality of technical education and vocational training, promote skill development, and bridge the gap between industry requirements and the skills of the workforce. 

Section 3 directs the provincial government to establish the Punjab Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA). Section 5 empowers TEVTA to regulate, monitor, and coordinate technical education and vocational training institutions. The Authority plays a crucial role in promoting technical skills, providing job-oriented training, and creating opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship in various sectors. Moreover, Section 19 mandates the Authority to prepare and submit an annual report to the provincial government. The report includes details about the activities, programs, and initiatives undertaken by the Authority the preceding year. The purpose of the annual report is to provide transparency, accountability, and a comprehensive overview of the Authority’s performance to the government and other relevant stakeholders. 

Punjab Skills Development Authority Act, 2019 

The Punjab Skills Development Authority Act, 2019 aims to establish a regulatory body to oversee and promote skills development in Punjab. The purpose of the Act is to enhance the quality and relevance of skills training programs, foster collaboration between industry and training providers, and create a skilled workforce that meets the demands of the job markets. The Act focuses on creating a conducive environment for skills development, promoting entrepreneurship, and providing opportunities for employment and economic growth. 

Section 3 directs the provincial government to establish the Punjab Skills Development Authority (PSDA). Section 5 empowers PSDA to enhance the quality and relevance of skills training programs, foster collaboration between industry and training providers, and create a skilled workforce that meets the demands of the job market. The Authority is responsible for developing and implementing policies, standards, and guidelines for skills development, accrediting training providers, and ensuring the quality and effectiveness of skills training programs. Section 18 mandates the Authority to prepare and submit an annual report to the provincial government. The report includes details about the activities, programs, and initiatives undertaken by the Authority the preceding year. The purpose of the annual report is to provide transparency, accountability, and a comprehensive overview of the Authority’s performance to the government and other relevant stakeholders.

National Laws

Kindly check national laws which also have jurisdiction in the province of Punjab.

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