Wage Inspectorate Victoria has filed multiple criminal charges in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria against a Port Fairy bakery, alleging it breached Victoria’s child employment laws relating to permits, supervision and co-operating with investigators.
It is alleged that between December 2021 and February 2022, the operators of Cobb’s Bakery contravened the Child Employment Act 2003 by:
- employing 4 children under the age of 15 without a permit
- failing to ensure children are supervised by someone with a Working with Children Clearance
- producing false or misleading information to a child employment officer.
The maximum penalty for each of the above offences is 100 penalty units ($18,174). If found guilty of all offences, the company faces a fine of more than $160,000.
The matter has been listed for mention in the Magistrates’ Court on 13 January 2023.
The Wage Inspectorate will make no further comment while the matter is before the court.
In Victoria, employers typically need a permit before a child under 15 years can start work, and the child must be supervised by someone who holds a valid Victorian Working with .
The permit system enables the Wage Inspectorate to check that matters like safety, hours of work, rest breaks and supervision are properly considered before employment starts. Permits are free, and employers can apply via our website.
The charges against Cobb’s Bakery follow other recent enforcement action by the Wage Inspectorate:
- In October, a Barwon Heads fish and chip shop was charged over 14 alleged breaches of child employment laws
- In September, a Yarrawonga chemist was charged over 11 alleged breaches of child employment laws
- In August, a digital learning company pleaded guilty to breaking child employment laws
- In June, a Bright cafe pleaded guilty to breaking child employment laws.
- In March, a proactive compliance campaign focussed on the employment of children in fast food outlets, restaurants and cafes in regional Victoria.
A prosecution is the Wage Inspectorate’s most serious compliance tool and decisions to take legal action are made in line with its Compliance and Enforcement Policy. Employers must cooperate with Wage Inspectorate investigations.
More information about Victoria’s child employment laws is available at on our website or by calling our Helpline, 1800 287 287.
Reviewed 04 December 2022