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Changes to Victoria's child employment laws

Changes to child employment laws take effect on 1 July 2023. The changes will strengthen protections for children in the workplace and make it simpler for employers to understand their obligations when employing children.

New Child Safe Standards are now in effect. Businesses employing children under 15 years old must comply with the new Standards.

Child employment permits

There is no minimum age for working in a family business or in entertainment and advertising, but a child must be at least:

  • 11 to do delivery work
  • 13 to do other types of work, such as in retail or hospitality.

An employer must get a permit before they employ someone under 15, whether the work is paid or voluntary. Employing a child without a permit is a crime and may be penalised.

Workers under 15 must be supervised by someone who holds a valid employee Victorian Working with Children ClearanceExternal Link , unless they are exempt.

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.

The Commission for Children and Young People has guides and resources to help you understand and comply with the StandardsExternal Link .

Apply for a permit

Entertainment and advertising

There are industry-specific requirements for employing a child under 15 in entertainment and advertising.

Entertainment and advertising industry information

Hours worked

There are restrictions on when you can employ children and how many hours they work:

  • Children cannot be employed during school hours on a school day.
  • During a school term, children can be employed for a maximum of 3 hours a day and 12 hours per week.
  • During school holidays, children can be employed for a maximum of 6 hours a day and 30 hours per week.

You can apply for a variation to these hours via our Child Employment PortalExternal Link . Please contact us if you are unable to complete an online application and need further assistance.

There are industry-specific restrictions on when you can employ children in entertainment and advertising, and how many hours they can work.

Start and finish times

For street trading, children cannot start work before 6am or sunrise (whichever is later) and must finish by 6pm or sunset (whichever is earlier).

For other employment, children cannot start work before 6am and must finish by 9pm.

You can apply for a variation to these start and finish times via our Child Employment PortalExternal Link . Please contact us if you are unable to complete an online application and need further assistance.

There are industry-specific restrictions on start and finish times for children working in entertainment and advertising.

Rest breaks

Children under 15 must receive a minimum rest break of 30 minutes for every 3 hours worked and have at least 12 hours break between finishing one shift and starting the next.

You can apply for a variation to these rest breaks via our Child Employment PortalExternal Link . Please contact us if you are unable to complete an online application and need further assistance.

There are industry-specific rest break requirements for the entertainment and advertising industries.

Family business exemption

Parents or guardians don’t need a child employment permit to employ their child in a family business. They are also exempt from rules around:

  • age restrictions
  • hours of work
  • rest breaks.

However, parents or guardians must directly supervise their child. If someone else is the child's supervisor, the family business exemption does not apply.

Children working in a family business cannot perform work during school hours or in jobs that are prohibited or may be harmful to their health, safety, development, moral or material welfare.

Our role

At the Wage Inspectorate we:

  • provide information to employees, guardians and employers about child employment
  • proactively investigate non-compliance and penalise offenders
  • 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.

Report someone you suspect is breaking child employment rulesExternal Link using our online form or by calling 1800 287 287. You can remain anonymous.

If you have questions about child employment, email us or call 1800 287 287.

Reviewed 12 January 2023

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