Back to School warning for businesses employing kids over summer

Businesses that have hired kids under 15 over the summer school holidays are being urged to review their shift rosters before the school term starts to avoid falling foul of Victoria’s child employment laws.

Tuesday, 23 January 2024 at 9:00 pm

Under the laws, businesses with a child employment licence can hire kids under 15 for up to 6 hours a day and 30 hours a week (including rest breaks) during school holidays, but this decreases during the school term when kids can work a maximum of 3 hours a day and 12 hours per week.

Victoria’s child employment regulator, Wage Inspectorate Victoria, is encouraging businesses to review their staffing rosters to ensure they abide by the school term restrictions.

The regulator is also reminding businesses that employees under 15 cannot work past 9pm – a restriction that applies during both the school term and holidays.

Breaching Victoria’s child employment laws is a crime and may be penalised with fines of up to $200,000. 

Last year, the Wage Inspectorate prosecuted 11 businesses for breaching child employment laws and issued official warnings to others.

Further information about child employment laws is available at

Quotes attributable to Acting Commissioner of Wage Inspectorate Victoria, Lily Dekic

“Many businesses hire kids over the school holidays to help manage holiday crowds, particularly in retail and hospitality. Those businesses can keep offering kids shifts when the school term starts, but they need to ensure they’re doing so legally.”

“Work rosters for kids under 15 cannot be set-and-forget. At the start of the school term, employers need to review rosters to ensure kids aren’t working more than 3 hours a day or 12 hours per week, and never during school hours.”

“The summer holidays are when many kids get their first job, which can be a great experience for them and the employer. But at that age, school comes first and the restrictions on work hours helps ensure part time jobs don’t affect schooling.”