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The Quick Guide

This section provides a summary of the key things you need to know when employing a child in the entertainment industry.

  • This section provides a summary of the key things you need to know when employing a child in the entertainment industry. You can follow the references to other parts of The Guide for more information. This section is not intended to be comprehensive.

    As always, please contact a Child Employment Officer or seek legal advice if you are unsure of your obligations.

  • A Child Employment Permit must be issued prior to a child being employed.

    The application process:

    • Application submitted online by the employer.
    • Details of the child and others must be entered accurately, as they would appear on their birth certificate or other legal document.
    • Supporting documents (assessment materials) to be included with application (scripts, storyboards, safety reports, etc).
    • Parent must be provided with detailed written information about proposed employment and consent to it in writing.
    • School exemption to be sought and granted in writing if employment during school hours.
    • Permit application assessed by Child Employment Officers.
    • Proposed employment must not adversely affect a child’s health, safety, education, moral or material welfare, and must not cause a child to be subject to any form of exploitation.

    Forms to be completed or obtained prior to employment commencing

    • Child Employment Permit
    • Parental Consent Form
    • School Exemption Form (if employment during school hours)
    • Child Information Form
    • Record of supervisors’ Working with Children Check (WWC Check) number
    • Parent information sheet to parent.

    Note: A child must be directly and adequately supervised at all times by a supervisor who has a valid Working with Children Check.

  • Hours of work must be in accordance with Tables A and B (below) and within the maximum weekly combination of education and employment hours and associated provisions.

    Note: A child cannot work beyond 9pm if they are required to attend school on the following morning.

    Note: A child cannot work for more than four hours on any day on which they attend school for 3 hours or more.

    Working hours include:

    • one shift per day
    • 12-hour break between shifts
    • 10-minute rest break every hour
    • 45-minute meal break every 5 hours but no later than 1pm (does not count as time worked)
    • travel time in excess of one hour each way
    • travel time must be within the allowable starting and finishing times.

    Education includes attendance at school and tutoring (if required).

    A week is defined as 7 days, Monday to Sunday, or the employer’s usual working week.

    Combined education and employment hours must not exceed 40 in any week (less for younger children). The time available for work is up to 40 hours, minus education hours (depending on age).

    If employed during school hours, a parent must apply for a school exemption and provide it to the employer. Variations to the hours of work are only available when in the best interest of the child and they are not a solution to poor planning or scheduling errors.

    Variation applications are required in writing and can be made online at: www.business.vic.gov.au/childemployment.

    Table A and Table B of the Code

    Table A

    This table applies to children working in television, film, radio, internet productions, promotional events, advertising, photographic modelling, shopping centre performances and recorded performances.

    Age Maximum number of days of employment in any week  Spread of hours Maximum employment hours per day Maximum number of consecutive days of employment
    Under 3 years 3 6am-6pm 4 hours 3
    3 years and under 8 years 4 6am-11pm* 6 hours** 4
    8 years and under 15 years 5 6am-11pm* 8 hours** 5

    * A child cannot work beyond 9pm if they are required to attend school on the morning of the following day.

    **A child cannot work for more than 4 hours on any day on which they attend school for 3 hours or more.

    Table B

    This table applies to children working in musical theatre, plays, operas, other live entertainment or a circus.

    Age Maximum number of days of employment in any week Spread of hours Maximum employment hours per day Maximum number of consecutive days of employment
    Under 2 years 1 9am-6pm 4 hours 1
    2 years and under 6 years 3 9am-6pm 4 hours 3
    6 years and under 10 years 4 9am-10pm* 4 hours 4
    10 years and under 12 years 4 9am-11pm* 6 hours** 4
    12 years and under 15 years 4 9am-11pm* 8 hours** 4

    * A child cannot work beyond 9pm if they are required to attend school on the morning of the following day.

    ** A child cannot work for more than 4 hours on any day on which they attend school for 3 hours or more.

  • If a child misses more than 9 days of school due to employment, the employer must arrange and provide tutoring.

    If the child’s school has... The employer must ensure the child...
    granted an exemption receives the tutoring hours from school stipulated by the school
    granted an exemption without a tutoring stipulation receives 2 hours of tutoring per day when they miss more than 9 days of school while working for a single employer
    not granted an exemption is not employed during school hours as the child is required to attend school

    An education plan is developed between the tutor and child’s school. The tutor must be suitably qualified for the age of the child.

    Tutoring is generally 10 hours per week or as specified by the school principal.

    The employer must provide an exclusive area for tutoring purposes.

  • Under occupational health and safety laws, the employer must provide a safe workplace.

    Requirements at the workplace include the employer providing children with:

    • protection from weather that could be harmful
    • suitable rest and recreational facilities, having regard to child’s age, needs and the length of the engagement
    • private dressing facilities, and clean and accessible toilet and hand-washing facilities at every workplace
    • water and other suitable drinks and access to appropriate and sufficient nutritious food.

    Special requirements apply for employment of babies under 12 weeks (page 36).

    A child must not be cast in a role or situation that is inappropriate (consider adult themes, language, violence).

    A child must not be exposed to scenes or situations that are likely to cause distress or embarrassment.

    A child (12 months or over) must not perform naked or with others who are naked.

    A baby under 12 months may only perform naked with written parental consent and presence throughout.

    Record-keeping

    Record-keeping requirements apply to all employers and include:

    Record type Minimum record-keeping duration
    Child Employment Permit Until expiry
    Parental Consent Form 12 months
    School Exemption Form 12 months
    Child Information Form 12 months
    Supervisor record 12 months
    Time records 12 months
    Tutoring records 12 months

Reviewed 19 May 2021

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