The state’s child employment watchdog, Wage Inspectorate Victoria, alleges that DYR Investments Pty Ltd, trading as 3925 Espresso, illegally employed a child below the minimum working age on several occasions in April 2022.
The maximum penalty for each offence is 100 penalty units ($18,174). If found guilty of all offences, the company faces a fine of more than $145,392.
In Victoria, provided an employer obtains a child employment permit and complies with Child Safe Standards, it can hire a child to work in hospitality from the age of 13.
The investigation into 3925 Espresso began when Wage Inspectorate officers made unannounced visits in Phillip Island, San Remo, Wonthaggi and Inverloch as part of a proactive compliance campaign focussing on regional restaurants, cafes and fast-food outlets.
Officers entered workplaces on the Bass Coast over 2 days last year to raise awareness of child employment laws and to check that hospitality businesses were complying with the laws. The campaign also saw officers inspect businesses in Drouin, Warragul and Moe.
The matter has been listed for mention in the Magistrates’ Court on 27 March 2023.
The Wage Inspectorate will make no further comment while the matter is before the court.
In Victoria, provided an employer obtains a child employment permit and complies with Child Safe Standards, it can hire a child to do delivery work from 11 years and to do other types of work, such as in hospitality and retail, from 13.
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 3925 Espresso follow other recent enforcement action by the Wage Inspectorate:
- Across December and January, a compliance campaign checked retail businesses employing kids under 15 years during the school holidays were complying with the state’s child employment laws.
- In December, a Port Fairy bakery was charged with alleged breaches of child employment laws.
- 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.
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.
More information about Victoria’s child employment laws is available on the Wage Inspectorate’s website or by calling 1800 287 287.
Reviewed 13 February 2023