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Information for key people

Find out what you need to do to support a child working in the entertainment industry.

  • To be eligible to be a supervisor you must be:

    • a parent or guardian of the child
    • approved by the parent or guardian of the child following nomination by the employer
    • either appropriately qualified or experienced to supervise the child (depending on their age)
    • holder of a current Working with Children Check (WWC Check) (except for parents and extended family).

    Who can be appointed as a supervisor?

    Options include health professionals like registered nurses, a parent or guardian or an employer’s representative. The requirements depend on the age of the child being supervised, and the duration of their work.

    Role and responsibilities of a supervisor

    • You can only be given other tasks to the extent that they do not interfere with your ability to provide direct supervision to the children in your care.
    • If you find yourself in a situation where you have so much to do that it becomes difficult to directly supervise, you should advise your employer immediately that you are not able to do the additional tasks.
    • Your responsibility is to directly supervise the children at the workplace. This involves ensuring that at all times you are in visual contact with the children and focused on their wellbeing in the workplace.
    • Children must not be left in the care of any person who is not nominated as a supervisor. It is not the responsibility of the supervisor, however, to take on the role of the employer at the workplace.
    • If you have a valid WWC Check it can be used for subsequent employment should you be nominated as a supervisor.
    • You are required to ensure you update your current employer record on the WWC Check websiteExternal Link .

    Parents as supervisors

    • A parent can be a supervisor. However, a parent is not taking on the responsibilities of the employer.
    • A parent acting as supervisor accepts that his or her role at the workplace is to provide direct supervision of the child.
    • A parent cannot be compelled to take this role; it is the parent’s choice.
    • If a parent is not available or is unable to commit to directly supervise then the employer must appoint another appropriate person.
    • If the parent is to take on the role, then he or she must be fully briefed about the role and responsibilities.

    Process for raising concerns

    What do I do if I am concerned about the safety of a particular activity the child is engaged in?

    • As you are the responsible person for direct supervision, if you have a concern then you should address it.
    • This may involve removing the child from the activity if the matter is particularly urgent or you may first discuss it with the employer to have the activity changed.
    • You could also contact a Child Employment Officer or Victorian WorkCover Authority, depending on the nature of the issue.
  • All references to parents include guardians.

    Information to be provided to a parent or guardian:

    • A prospective employer is required to provide you with a range of information in writing about the proposed employment of your child, via a Parental Consent Form, including:
      • the name and contact details of the employer and the employer representative
      • workplace location and the business, trade or occupation carried on
      • duties to be performed by the child
      • details of the role to be played by your child
      • hours of work
      • dates of commencement and completion of employment
      • whether employment is proposed during school hours.
    • Additionally, prior to your child commencing, the employer must ensure you have received a summary document telling you about the Code. If you request a full copy of the Code, then the employer must provide you with a copy.

    What are my legal responsibilities as a parent of a child working in entertainment?

    Consent to your child’s employment:

    • Your key responsibility, following the provision of relevant information and appropriate consideration, is to consent to your child’s employment.
    • It is an offence for the employer to employ your child prior to you giving written consent. Similarly, it is an offence for you to allow your child to be employed without a permit having been issued to the employer.
    • If your child is of school age, and employment is proposed during the school term, it is also your responsibility to obtain an exemption from school attendance for your child.

    Provide employer with contact and medical details:

    • Once an offer of employment has been made and accepted, a Child Employment Permit issued, and you have provided written consent for your child to be employed, your next responsibility is to provide the employer with a range of contact and medical information and authorisations concerning your child. The employer is not permitted to commence employing your child until you provide this information.
    • You should obtain the contact details of the employer and direct supervisor so that you are able to contact them, for example, to notify them if your child is ill or unable to attend work when required.

    Hours of work

    Do I have any obligations regarding the number of hours my child works?

    • You should make yourself familiar with the hours of work requirements that relate to your child.
    • You do not have the right to authorise an employer to work your child beyond the maximum hours. Additional hours can only be worked if you agree and a formal variation is granted by a Child Employment Officer.
    • A 12-hour break between shifts is required under the Code. To enable employers to comply with their obligation to always provide a child with a 12-hour break between shifts, you must tell the employer if the proposed start for your child is less than 12 hours since finishing work on the previous day.

    Parent attendance at child’s workplace

    • If your child is more than 12 weeks old, there is no obligation for you to remain at the workplace with your child unless you have accepted the role of direct supervisor.
    • You should communicate clearly with the employer so that all parties understand your involvement on the day of employment. There are some employers and some situations where employers would prefer that you remain with your child and there are other employers who may prefer that you do not remain.
    • The Code requires the employer to allow you to be present at the workplace at all times that your child is there. It provides that the employer may exclude you from a particular area or from direct contact with your child for a period only when necessary to ensure the production is not disrupted or to protect the health and safety of any person present.
    • If your child requests contact with you or another person, the employer must facilitate this.

    Parent as supervisor

    • A parent or guardian can be a supervisor. If asked to take on this role you should understand that you are not taking on the responsibilities of an employer but accepting that your role at the workplace is to provide direct supervision of your own child. This involves remaining with your child throughout the day and not becoming distracted by other children or activities elsewhere.
    • You cannot be compelled to take this role; it is your choice (unless the child is under 12 weeks).
    • If your child’s employment necessitates being away from home overnight and you are to accompany your child, the employer must provide appropriate accommodation for you and your child.

    Records to be maintained

    • The employer is required to keep records of the hours your child worked and provide you with a copy on request.
    • The employer must also keep a copy of the Child Employment Permit, your written consent to your child’s employment and any relevant school exemptions.
    • A record must be maintained of your child’s supervisor and their WWC Check number.
    • In order to ensure that all parents are fully informed of their child’s and the employer’s rights and responsibilities, the employer is required to provide a copy of the Code to any parent who requests a copy.
    • As a parent it is in your and your child’s best interest to fully understand the regulation that covers child employment. A copy of the Code, the Act and the CE Regulations are downloadable from Link . Alternatively, a copy can be requested from a Child Employment Officer.

    Process for raising concerns

    • If you have any concerns about anything relating to the employment of your child, you should ensure these are addressed.
    • You could talk to the employer directly.
    • If you are unsure about who the employer is you should refer to the Child Employment Permit, which names the employer and the employer representative and gives their contact details.
    • Alternatively, you could seek out the photographer, production company producer, company manager or some other person in authority. If this is not possible, or you don’t feel comfortable with this, you might approach a supervisor or someone else on the production cast or crew. Other options include your child’s union organiser, agent or a Child Employment Officer.
  • A child who works in the entertainment industry may in some cases be required to work hours that can affect school attendance. Schools have an important role in ensuring that a child’s education is not adversely affected by the child’s work in the entertainment industry.

    Exemption process

    Exemption scenarios:

    • A child may be exempted fully or partially from attending school.
    • The employer must engage a tutor to deliver the school’s specified number of hours of education. The school may also specify subjects or curriculum to be taught.
    • A child may be exempted from attending school without the school having specified the number of hours of education that the child is to receive. In this case, the employer must engage a tutor once the child has been absent from school for the equivalent of 9 days in any one school term. The tutor must be engaged to deliver to the child a minimum of 2 hours of education per day (or an average of 2 hours of education per day over 4 weeks) until employment finishes.
    • If no exemption has been granted, the child must attend school.

    A child may be engaged by an employer for up to a maximum of 40 hours per week (depending on the age of the child). The 40-hour week includes working hours and education hours (schooling and tutoring).

    What is the exemption process?

    • If a school principal receives an application for an exemption for a child to be employed in the entertainment industry, they should take into account the length and regularity of the absence when assessing the effects. In the great majority of cases, the engagement would be for no more than a few hours on an occasional basis.
    • If a child is to be engaged in employment during school hours, the child’s parent should apply to the school principal for an exemption from attending school so that a child can work in the entertainment industry. The school principal will make an assessment about whether he or she believes that the child’s education will be adversely affected by the employment. The principal will take into account the short and long-term benefits to the child, the child’s educational needs, attitudes, employment prospects and the family’s views.
    • The process for obtaining an exemption from school is separate from the Child Employment Permit application process. The exemption process is prescribed by the Department of Education and Training. Questions about the process should be directed to the appropriate Department of Education and Training office.
    • If the proposed employment is a longer-term project and the principal determines that the child could benefit from receiving tutoring during his or her absence, the principal is able to determine exactly how much tutoring is required and what subjects should be covered, by setting conditions in relation to the exemption.
    • A principal may specifically determine that the child does not need tutoring, and this will be noted in the exemption.
    • If the principal does not stipulate one way or the other then the child will receive 2 hours of tutoring per day, after an absence equivalent to 9 days in a school term.

    Applications for Child Employment Permits

    • Schools do not have to sign applications for Child Employment Permits. The school exemption process is separate to permit applications. The permit application only requires a signature from the principal if the proposed employment is part of a formal work experience arrangement.
    • If the principal’s assessment of the child’s educational needs changes, the principal can change the conditions attached to an exemption at any time.

    Tutoring information

    • Any tutor provided by the employer must be a registered teacher and must be appropriately qualified.
    • The employer is required to provide an opportunity for the tutor to make contact with the school the child is attending, and to develop an education plan for the child in consultation with the school so that the needs of the child are specifically addressed.
    • If the tutor does not contact the principal or the principal is not satisfied with the level of consultation about the work being undertaken by the child, the principal should raise this concern with a Child Employment Officer.
  • There are a number of situations when an employer is required to engage a tutor at a workplace:

    • A child may be exempted from attending school, but his or her school may specify the number of hours of tutoring that he or she is to receive. In such a case, the employer must engage a tutor to deliver the specified number of hours of education. The school may also specify the subjects or curriculum to be taught.
    • A child may be exempted from attending school without the school having specified the number of hours of education that the child is to receive. In this case, the employer must engage a tutor once the child has been absent from school for the equivalent of 9 days in any one school term. The tutor must be engaged to deliver a minimum of 2 hours of education per day (or an average of 40 hours of education over four weeks).

    If no exemption has been granted, the child must attend school.

    Tutor qualifications

    • Tutors must be registered as a teacher in Victoria through the Victorian Institute of Teaching.
    • Tutors must also be appropriately qualified to teach the children in question. If the children are secondary school level, then they must be qualified to teach secondary level.

    Tutoring facilities

    • The Code states that the employer must provide dedicated facilities of sufficient size and quality appropriate to the education to be provided.
    • The education facility should be for the exclusive use of the tutor and children.
    • The employer must ensure the facility has the necessary equipment and space for the children who will use it. Clearly a small trailer out on location would be insufficient for a group of 10 children who all had daily schooling requirements. Similarly, a corner of a green room set up with a couple of desks and chairs would not meet the dedicated facility requirement.

    Tutoring requirements

    Tutoring will usually take place during normal working or school hours. The hours spent in education are considered to be part of working hours.

    In some cases, however, the employer and the child’s parent may agree that tutoring will take place outside of working hours.

    In most circumstances, a tutor will be engaged and paid directly by the employer. In some cases, where tutoring takes place outside of school hours, a tutor may be paid by the parent who will later be reimbursed by the employer.

    Tutors do not require a WWC Check as they are exempt.

    The Code requires the employer to ensure records are kept of the hours of tutoring given to each child and the subject matter covered.

    The record can be kept in any form as long as it is legible, accessible and in English. The record should be maintained for the same period as the hours records (12 months from the last entry).

    The employer is required to ensure that the tutor is able to develop an education plan for the child in consultation with the child’s school. If the employer does not facilitate this, the tutor should contact a Child Employment Officer.

  • In some limited cases, there is a requirement for a nurse to be engaged to care for children at a workplace in the entertainment industry. In other cases, production companies may choose to engage a nurse on set.

    Responsibilities of a nurse

    • If a nurse proposes to work with children in the entertainment industry, they must have a valid WWC Check.
    • A nurse should have a good understanding of occupational health and safety issues that surround the employment of children in the entertainment industry and the needs of children generally so that they can effectively supervise children at work.
    • An employer is required to engage a nurse on set if employing a baby less than 12 weeks old for one hour or more. A nurse is required to:
      • be present at all times to care for the baby;
      • advise the employer as to whether the baby is fit for employment; and
      • advise the employer if the environment is likely to distress the baby.
    • The employer must follow a nurse’s professional advice on all matters in relation to the welfare of the baby.
    • Some employers choose to engage a nurse specifically for the purpose of supervising children at work even though it may not be a minimum requirement. This might be the case particularly if there is a higher than usual risk with any of the action involved in the job.
  • In most cases the role of the child’s agent is limited in a formal sense. Agents often assist with the movement of documents between the parties, as well as providing employers with details of the child in order for the employer to complete the online application for a Child Employment Permit.

    Agents can play an important role in ensuring that those who book children through their agencies are following the correct procedures in terms of requirements for permits. Agents are also often the first to know if something has gone wrong on a particular engagement.

    • Child Employment Officers are appointed under the Child Employment Act 2003 (Vic) (the Act) and have 2 key roles:
      • to provide information to all relevant and interested parties about the operation of the Act, and their rights and responsibilities
      • to investigate applications for permits and ensure compliance with the Act.
    • Child Employment Officers receive and assess permit applications. They have powers of entry and investigation and regularly conduct field visits to ensure all employers are complying with the Act and CE Regulations, the Code and any permit conditions.
    • Child Employment Officers also regularly contact parents of children who have had a permit to discuss the employment conditions their child experienced.
    • Additionally, officers investigate any reports of alleged breaches. The investigation process provides an opportunity for employers to respond to any allegations made. At the conclusion of the investigation the allegation is either sustained or not sustained and appropriate action is taken.
    • Child Employment Officers have the power to cancel a Child Employment Permit at a work site if necessary, in the interests of the child’s health and safety.
  • There are a number of offences under the Act with penalties of up to 100 penalty units.

    A person who employs a child in entertainment in contravention of the Code is liable to a penalty of this magnitude.

    Offences under the Act attract penalties of up to 100 penalty units. They include:

    • employing a child without a permit
    • breaching a permit condition
    • obstructing and hindering a Child Employment Officer
    • breaching a provision of the Code.
  • To contact a Child Employment Officer

    Tel: 1800 287 287
    Fax: 03 9651 9703
    Emergency after-hours contact: 03 9651 9831

    Mailing Address

    Child Employment Officer
    Wage Inspectorate Victoria
    GPO Box 4912
    Melbourne VIC 3001

    Street Address

    Child Employment Officer
    Wage Inspectorate Victoria
    Department of Premier and Cabinet
    Level 9
    1 Spring Street
    Melbourne Vic 3000

Reviewed 24 August 2021

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