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Employing children under 15 years old

Victoria's laws protect children from work that could harm their health or wellbeing.

Victoria's child employment laws

In Victoria, employers need a licence before they can employ anyone under 15.
 
Kids can deliver advertising material from 11 and do other types of work, such as retail or hospitality, from 13.

An interpreting service is available, and we have translated child employment information in 8 languages. 

Age requirements 

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. 

Licensing system 

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.

Apply for a licence

Renew a child employment licence(opens in a new window)

Employers employing children in the entertainment industry must apply for an entertainment specific licence. 

Learn more about employing children in entertainment

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. 

Apply for a licence variation

Notification requirements 

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.

Notify us of an employee under 15

Watch our short video about the child employment laws.

Child employment laws animation

Online learning module

Our online learning module can help you understand the requirements of Victoria's child employment laws. 

Supervision and record keeping 

An employer must keep records about the employment of children. Most records must be held for 12 months after the child ends work.

Workers under 15 must be supervised by someone who is at least 18 years old and holds a valid Victorian Working with Children Clearance, unless they are exempt, for example, a parent supervising their child.

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. 

Record of supervisors template
Word 147.77 KB
(opens in a new window)
Accessible record of supervisors template
Word 51.21 KB
(opens in a new window)

Child Safe Standards

Victoria’s Child Safe Standards require organisations to embed child safety in their day-to-day operations, helping keep children safe from physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse and neglect.

Employers issued with a child employment permit must comply with Child Safe Standards.

Learn more about Child Safe Standards in the workplace

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.

Children must:

  • 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.

Apply for a licence variation

An employer can also make an application for a child to work during school hours through the Department of Education.

Employers 

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.

Parental consent form
Word 163.75 KB
(opens in a new window)
Accessible parental consent form
Word 62.38 KB
(opens in a new window)

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. 

View the child employment register

Exemptions

The laws do not apply to:

  • participating in a religious service
  • participating in a project for a school
  • tutoring.

Family businesses

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

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.

Our role

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 Child Safe Standards in Victorian workplaces.

If you have questions about child employment, make an enquiry or call 1800 287 287.

Report an employer

Report an employer you suspect is breaking child employment rules using our online form or by calling 1800 287 287

Make a report

Make an anonymous report

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