Laws restrict when children can work


Western Australia’s employment of children laws in the Children and Community Services Act 2004 apply to all workplaces including temporary workplaces such as pop up retail outlets, mobile food vans, and amusement rides.

If you run or manage a business or stall operating during the Perth Royal Show you need to know:

·        15 years old is the youngest a child can work on an amusement ride, including selling or collecting tickets;

·        13 years old is the youngest a child can work in a retail stall, fast food outlet or café and children who are 13 or 14 must not work before 6am or after 10pm and must have written permission from a parent or guardian;

·        a child is considered to be working whether they are paid or not paid for the work they do;

·        business owners can face substantial fines for employing children in breach of these provisions – up to $24,000 or up to $120,000 for an incorporated employer.

There are exclusions if the child is working in a family business owned by a relative such as a parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent, or the organisation is a charity or not-for-profit organisation. Children of any age can perform as an actor, musician, or entertainer.

Industrial Inspectors from Private Sector Labour Relations will be on duty at the Perth Royal Show this year, visiting rides, stalls and fast food outlets to ensure children are not being incorrectly employed.

The When children can work in Western Australia page of the Wageline website has  more information on child employment laws.

Business owners must also ensure they provide the relevant legal minimum pay rates and other employment entitlements for all employees working at the Royal Show as well as keep required employment records.

If the business is operated as a sole trader, unincorporated partnership or unincorporated trust, visit the Wageline website or contact Wageline for information on rates of pay for employees.

If the business is a Pty Ltd, incorporated partnership or incorporated trust, employers should visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for information on pay rates and employment obligations.

Compliance audits for regional cafés and restaurants

DMIRS Industrial Inspectors have visited a number of café and restaurant business owners in the regional areas in recent weeks requesting employment records to check compliance with state employment laws.

The unannounced compliance visits in Lancelin, Jurien Bay, Dongara, Geraldton, Three Springs and Moora focused on café and restaurant business in the state industrial relations system, which are those that operate as sole traders, unincorporated partnerships and unincorporated trusts.

Pay rates, allowances and working hours for part time, full time and casual staff in state system cafés and restaurants are set by the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers’ Award.  It is unlawful for employers to pay employees less than the rates of pay outlined in this WA Award.

Many of the business owners have been quick in providing employment records to the Industrial Inspectors, and audits are now being undertaken.  Employers can be penalised up to $5,000 for not keeping employment records, for keeping inadequate or fraudulent records, or not providing records to an Industrial Inspector when requested.

More information on employment obligations for state system café and restaurant owners is available on the Wageline website or by contacting Wageline on 1300 655 266.