Employment rights for under-15s
If you're under 15, you may be allowed to work in Victoria, but your employer must have a Child Employment Permit (CEP) (new window) from the Victorian Government before you can start.
A CEP sets out both general and specific conditions to ensure your work is safe and appropriate. For example, children can't be employed in anything other than 'light work' and conditions include providing suitable facilities and health and safety measures. Children also can't be employed during school hours.
Your employer is required to apply for a permit by written application (new window). Your prospective employer is required to enter details about the job, and both parties must sign the application form.
Your employer also needs to ensure that anyone supervising your work has a valid Working with Children Check card (new window).
Under-15-year-olds' rights are different from older people's. If you're under 15 you can't:
- Serve alcohol
- Operate heavy machinery
- Work in gaming
- Do heavy work
- Sell door-to-door
- Work on a fishing boat at sea
- Work on a building or construction site
For all other kinds of work you have to be 13 or older.
There are also some jobs that you have to be 11 years or older to be able to do. These jobs are:
- Delivering newspapers
- Delivering pamphlets or other advertising material
- Making deliveries for a pharmacist
Note that there's no minimum age to work in a family business or family farm, or in the entertainment industry (below).
Hours you can work
During school term you can only work for a maximum of three hours a day and 12 hours a week. During school holidays you can work for a maximum of six hours a day and 30 hours a week.
You can only work between 6am and 9pm, and you must get a 30-minute rest break after every three hours you work, and the rest break can be paid or unpaid. You must also get a break of at least 12 hours between finishing one shift of work and starting the next.
To find out more about entitlements and obligations, including the application process for CEPs under the Child Employment Act 2003, you can contact a Child Employment Officer on 1800 287 287.
The entertainment industry includes:
- Singing, dancing, acting
- Playing a musical instrument
- Appearing in a radio, film, television or internet program in anything other than a news item
- Appearing in a promotional event or advertising
- Working as a photographic subject
- Working in a circus
- Working in musical theatre, plays, operas or other live entertainment
- Performing in a shopping centre
If you work in any of these areas, your rights are set by the Mandatory Code of Practice for the Employment of Children in Entertainment, which operates in conjunction with the Child Employment Act. The Code sets hours of work, education, supervision, safety and travel arrangements for employment in entertainment.
To find out more about employment in entertainment, contact a Child Employment Officer on 1800 287 287.
There's no minimum age for working for your family, but while you're working, you have to be supervised by your parent or guardian at all times. You can't work during school hours, and you can only do light work, but there are no other restrictions on your hours of work.
Information on the requirements of the Child Employment Act and the Entertainment Code.
Victorian community legal centre specialising in employment law.
Provides information and advice about Australia's national workplace relations system.