Work experience: your rights and responsibilities
If you're in high school and about to do work experience, check out the following information to make sure everything is being done legally and safely.
Who Can Do Work Experience?
You can do work experience if you're over 14 and have the written consent of your parent or guardian. Students up to the age of 21 are able to do work experience.
How Much Should I Get Paid?
The minimum rate of pay for work experience is $5 a day under the Victorian Work Experience Agreement.
What About Tax?
If you're paid $5 per day during work experience, you don't have to get a tax file number or complete an income tax return and your employer doesn't have to give you a group certificate at the end of the financial year.
If you're being paid more than the minimum work experience rate, check with the Australian Tax Office (new window) to find out if you need a tax file number and to lodge an income tax return for that financial year.
What About WorkCover?
Just in case something does go wrong and you get sick or are injured on the job during work expereince, it's good to know that you're treated the same way as other employees under WorkCover. You have the right to a safe and healthy work environment, free from danger, harrassment and bullying.
WorkCover doesn't cover travelling to and from work, but you are still covered under the Accident Compensation Act 1985.
Work Experience for Under-15s
If you're under 15, you're only allowed to do work experience in factories or other declared high-risk industries if you'll be directly supervised. Prior approval is also required through a Child Employment Permit (CEP) (new window).
Declared high-risk industries include:
- Agriculture (primary industries) and horticulture
- Automotive - retail, repair and service
- Forestry and logging industries
- Hairdressing and beauty
- Hospitality - café, restaurants, fast food and accommodation
- Security services
- Veterinary, parks and wildlife
Work Experience You Can't Do if You're Under 15
If you're under 15, you can't do the following types of work experience:
- Door to door selling
- Work on a fishing boat other than a boat operating on inland waters
- Work on a building or construction site at any time before the building is at lock up stage
- Civic construction
- Defence force and emergency services
- Some retail areas including butchery, fishmongers, tattooist and where guns and ammunition are sold
- Mining, quarrying, extraction, recycling plants, foundries and tips
- Electricity transmission and distribution
If you're under 15, you can't work in the following industries:
- Equine industry (horses)
- Security industry
Things You Just Can't Do At All
There's also equipment you're not allowed to use and activites you're not allowed to do, regardless of your age, when doing work experience. This includes things like:
- Operating power operated machinery (chainsaws, bulldozers, welders, forklifts)
- Working at a height above two metres
- Giving medicine to or bathing patients
For a list of what you need to know about work experience,check out the Department of Education's Work Experience Manual (new window). The bit you want is Section B, the 'Roles and Responsibilities' document. It explains all of the rights and responsibilities of:
- Your school
- Your employer
- Your parents