CHILD LABOR LAWS
Minors under the age of 16 may work no more than:
- 4 hours on a school day
- 8 hours on a non-school day
- 40 hours during a non-school week
- Not work before 6 a.m.
- Not work after 9 p.m.
The minimum age of employment and regulation of children in employment varies across each state and territory.
For example NSW has no minimum age of employment and employment of children is regulated only in certain industries Thus, in NSW, employment of children under fifteen years of age in entertainment, exhibition, still photography or door-to-door sales is regulated by the Office for Children - Children’s Guardian (OCCG). Employers in these industries must be authorized to employ children and comply with the legislated Code of Practice.
In contrast, Victoria has a minimum age of employment and children below the age of thirteen may not be employed generally (exceptions exist for family businesses, entertainment industry and children above the age of eleven delivering newspapers, advertising material or deliveries for a registered pharmacist), and any employed child (including children within family businesses) must only perform ‘light work’, work certain hours and be granted specified rest periods.
With a few exceptions for those enrolled in certain apprenticeship programs, doing light work during school holidays from the age of fourteen within the limits set forth by the law or working in the entertainment industry, children under the age sixteen may not be employed.
It is expressly prohibited to employ minors under the age of eighteen in the preparation, handling, or sale of written material, posters, drawings, and other materials whose sale, supply, exhibit, display, or distribution are contrary to public morality and constitute a criminal offense. Employing young people under the age of eighteen in certain dangerous jobs is also prohibited.
As for the employment of children under school-leaving age in the entertainment industry, they may not be employed by fixed or itinerant entertainment companies or in radio or television unless they have received an authorization in advance from the competent administrative authority. Written authorization from the child’s legal representative must be attached to the employer’s application for authorization. Agencies wishing to employ child models must also apply in advance for an authorization from the competent administrative authority, unless the agency has been approved and granted a general license for hiring child models. A decree has set forth the conditions under which approval is granted and the maximum amount of time the child may work per day and per week.
As a general rule, minors under eighteen cannot work more than seven hours a day and thirty-five hours a week. In addition, those over the age of sixteen may not work between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am; minors under sixteen may not work between 8:00 pm and 6:00 am. Laws prohibiting child employment are strictly enforced through periodic checks by labor inspectors who have the authority to take employers to court for non-compliance with labor laws.