Victorian businesses that have hired kids under 15-years-old during the summer school holidays are being urged to review their shift rosters before the school term starts to avoid falling foul of the state’s child employment laws.
Under the laws, Victorian businesses with a child employment licence can hire kids under 15 for up to six-hours-a-day and 30-hours-a-week (including rest breaks) during school holidays. But this figure decreases significantly during the school term when kids can work a maximum of three-hours-a-day and 12-hours-per-week.
Victoria’s child employment regulator, Wage Inspectorate Victoria, is encouraging businesses to review their staffing rosters in the coming days to ensure they abide by the school term restrictions.
Acting Commissioner of Wage Inspectorate Victoria Lily Dekic said many businesses hire kids over the school holidays to help manage holiday crowds, particularly in retail and hospitality.
“Those businesses can keep offering kids shifts when the school term starts, but they need to ensure they’re doing so legally,” she said.
“Work rosters for kids under 15 cannot be set-and-forget. At the start of the school term, employers need to review rosters to ensure kids aren’t working more than three-hours-a-day or 12-hours-per-week, and never during school hours.
“The summer holidays are when many kids get their first job, which can be a great experience for them and the employer. But at that age, school comes first and the restrictions on work hours helps ensure part time jobs don’t affect schooling.”
The regulator is also reminding businesses that employees under 15 cannot work past 9pm. This is a restriction that applies during both the school term and holidays.
Breaching these child employment laws is considered a crime and businesses may be penalised with fines of up to $200,000.
Last year, the Wage Inspectorate prosecuted 11 businesses for breaching child employment laws and issued official warnings to others.