In Victoria, a child must be:
- 11 to deliver newspapers and advertising material
- 13 to deliver pharmaceutical products or do other types of work, such as retail or hospitality.
There is no age limit for working in entertainment, but there are industry-specific requirements.
Children can only be employed for light work, that is not harmful to their health, safety, wellbeing and development. A child cannot work:
- on a building site
- on a fishing boat
- selling door-to-door.
An employer usually needs a licence to employ someone under 15, whether the work is paid or voluntary. Employing a child without a licence is a crime and may be penalised.
Where a licence is granted, a business can employ multiple children under one licence.
Licences are free and last for up to 2 years.
Before 1 July 2023, businesses needed a permit to employ a child under 15, rather than a licence. Permits continue to be valid until their expiry date, so you don't need a licence to employ a child you already have a permit for.
Employers employing children in the entertainment industry must apply for an entertainment specific licence.
Request a variation to your licence
Child employment licence holders can request a variation to the:
- licence period
- licence conditions
- employer details
- nominated officer or employer representative details.
Employers must use our online portal to notify us of each child they employ. It is preferable that we are notified before the child has started work.
Watch our short video about the child employment laws.Child employment laws animation
Employers must keep a written record of supervision for 5 years that includes the name of the supervisor and their Working with Children Clearance number.
A template is available to help you record this information.
Child Safe Standards
Employers issued with a child employment permit must comply with Child Safe Standards.
Work hours and rest breaks
There are restrictions on when children can work and for how long:
- Usually, children can only work between 6 am and 9 pm.
- Children cannot work during school hours.
- During a school term, children can work for a maximum of 3 hours a day and 12 hours per week.
- During school holidays, children can work for a maximum of 6 hours a day and 30 hours per week.
- receive a 30-minute rest break after every 3 hours of work
- have at least 12 hours break between shifts.
An employer is required to maintain a record of the dates, times, hours and locations that a child works.
An employer can apply for a variation to work hours and rest breaks.
You must have the written consent of a parent or guardian before a child can start employment, which you must provide to the Wage Inspectorate if requested.
A template consent form is available.
Parents and guardians
You must ensure a business employing your child has a child employment licence, and that the employment does not affect your child’s school attendance or ability to receive tuition.
The laws do not apply to:
- participating in a religious service
- participating in a project for a school
Parents or guardians don’t need a licence to employ their child in their family business and are exempt from rules around:
- age restrictions
- hours of work
- rest breaks.
The child should predominantly be supervised by their parent or guardian. If their parent of guardian is temporarily unavailable, they must be supervised by someone over 18.
The child cannot work:
- during school hours
- in roles that may be harmful to their health or wellbeing
- on a building site or fishing boat
- doing door-to-door selling.
Work experience arrangements are regulated by the Education and Training Reform Act 2006.
Work experience for a child who attends a secondary school does not need a licence, but a licence is required for a child that is home schooled.
At the Wage Inspectorate we:
- provide information about child employment laws
- administer the child employment licensing system
- monitor and enforce compliance with the laws
- respond to complaints and tip-offs about non-compliance
- promote child safety outcomes in Victorian workplaces
- monitor and enforce compliance with .
Report an employer
Reviewed 16 August 2023