You might be looking for a junior to join your business, or perhaps it is your child or grandchild keen to take their first steps into the workforce and the much anticipated independence that your first paycheck can bring. Either way it's important to know the rules and regulations that govern employing children in Australia.
So is the minimum age 14 year and 9 months? Well, no. That widely held belief comes from a time in the past where that WAS the age for certain areas of Australia, but the 14 years and 9 months rule is no longer. So when can teens begin to work? The answer is, it depends. It depends on where you live and work, and what type of work they will be doing, and how often they will be working.
Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule that governs all child workers in Australia, and the decision and legislation is governed by each state and territory. We are going to outline some of the key points below (which are correct at the time of writing this blog in May 2021), but it is important to review the information detailed by your state or territory government before offering a job to a minor, or accepting a job as a minor. You can even give us a call, or book a free appointment with us just to make sure everything is above board.
The sunshine state minimum age for employment is 13. This is lowered to 11 where the child carries out supervised delivery work that involves delivering newspapers, advertising material or similar items between the hours of 6am and 6pm.allows youths between the age of 11-13 to partake in employment in delivery (ie. leaflet/newspaper delivery) only. There are rules around how many hours school-aged children can work on given days, during school weeks and on school holidays. School aged children are prohibited from working between 10pm-6am - See the QLD Government website for more info.
Australian Capital Territory
Children and young people under the age of 15 can perform 'light' work for a restricted number of hours with written parental consent. 15-17 year olds may work unrestrictedly, as long as it is not contrary to their best interests (ie. obtaining an education etc). More information can be found here.
New South Wales
In NSW, there is no minimum employment age, but employment must not interfere with a students education, and employers must be reasonable when it comes to rostering, scheduling and safety. More information here.
11 is the minimum age for newspaper and pamphlet delivery in Victoria. 13 is the minimum age for most other types of employment (entertainment employment excluded). There is restrictions on hours and days of work up until 15 years old. There is no minimum age for working in family businesses. Find more out here.
There is no minimum age to start casual or part time work in Tasmania, as long as it doesn't interfere with school attendance. Find out more here.
There is no minimum working age in South Australia, as long as employment doesn't interfere with school attendance, and is not at unreasonable times (like late at night or early in the morning). Visit this site for more details.
With the strictest rules in the country, youths can not be employed in most roles in Western Australia until 15 years of age (unless in a family business, entertainment or for a charity). Supervised newspaper delivery can be done by 10, 11 and 12 year olds at certain times, and 13+ year olds can work at cafes and fast food restaurants with certain restrictions. Find out more about this here.
While there is no minimum employment age in the Northern Territory for casual and part time jobs, there are restrictions around working in licensed premises, and around safe hours. See here.
As you can see, by the age of 15 children in all states can get their first job, and in most states can obtain paid employment earlier than this - although there is usually restrictions around the number of hours that can be worked, and when those hours are worked. It's important that each family weighs up the costs and benefits of their teen getting their first job, and landing on a decision that ultimately has the best interests of the child and the family unit at heart.
If you need any support with the decision-making process, or with creating that first resume, and especially if you feel that your teen is not being treated fairly or correctly at work - visit our bookings page, book in for a free consultation and see how we can help!