- Wednesday, 19 April 2023 at 8:00 pm
All workplaces have risks, and these are magnified where kids work near cooking equipment, such as deep fryers, chopping machines, rotisseries and pizza ovens. That’s why working with this type of equipment is prohibited for children under 15, and why supervision requirements are in place.
In Victoria, children can work in takeaway stores from the age of 13, but the employer needs a permit before employing anyone under 15. The permit system enables the Wage Inspectorate to ensure matters like safety, hours of work, rest breaks and supervision are properly considered before employment starts.
As well as monitoring compliance, Wage Inspectorate officers will take time to speak with employers about the changes to child employment laws that take effect on 1 July.
The changes will see a streamlined child employment licensing system replace the existing permit system. Where a licence is issued, businesses will be able to employ multiple children under one licence, rather than requiring a permit for each child they employ.
Businesses breaking child employment laws face consequences ranging from warnings to fines of more than $18,000. The Wage Inspectorate has prosecuted 8 companies for child employment breaches in the last 18 months.
Information about Victoria’s child employment laws and the upcoming changes is available at wageinspectorate.vic.gov.au.
Quotes attributable to Robert Hortle, Commissioner of Wage Inspectorate Victoria
“Kids on school holidays can be a great help to businesses and the experience can be invaluable for them. It’s win–win, as long as it is done safely.”
“Our officers will be ensuring takeaway businesses hiring kids under 15 have a permit, are providing appropriate supervision, and that kids aren’t working near any dangerous cooking equipment, such as deep fryers and chopping machines.”
“Kids under 15 don’t always recognise risks in the workplace and some don’t feel able to speak up when they feel unsafe. The permit system helps ensure the employer understands the risks and puts measures in place to keep young staff safe.”
“Parents have a role to play too. If you have a child under 15 who has just secured a job, make sure the employer has a child employment permit. It’s a simple step you can take to ensure the employer has considered your child’s health and wellbeing.”