A Paynesville restaurant is facing 409 charges in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria over alleged breaches of the state’s child employment laws.
It is alleged the restaurant continued to employ children without a permit and in contravention of other conditions attached to the employment despite having been contacted by the Wage Inspectorate about compliance with child employment laws.
Wage Inspectorate Victoria, the state’s child employment watchdog, alleges Deja’s Pty Ltd, trading as Three Double 8 Zero Pizza Bar & Grill, breached the law by:
- employing children under 15 without a permit on 161 occasions
- employing children for more hours than they are permitted to work
- employing children later than 9pm
- failing to provide rest breaks of 30-minutes for every 3 hours worked
- failing to provide a break of at least 12 hours between shifts.
The matter is listed for mention in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 2 August 2023.
The Wage Inspectorate will provide no further details while the matter is before the court.
A prosecution is the Wage Inspectorate’s most serious compliance tool and decisions to commence a prosecution are made in line with its Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
The prosecution against Deja’s Pty Ltd follows other recent prosecutions commenced by the Wage Inspectorate:
- In May, criminal charges were filed against Red Rooster and Cold Rock for breaches of child employment laws.
- In April, Muffin Break was served with 360 criminal charges over alleged breaches of child employment laws.
- In February, a Phillip Island cafe was charged with 8 criminal charges alleging it breached Victoria’s child employment laws by hiring a child below the minimum working age and employing a child without a permit
About the laws
Victoria’s child employment laws require employers of children under 15 to obtain a permit from the Wage Inspectorate before any work takes place. From 1 July 2023, the permit system will be replaced by a licensing system.
Workers under 15 must be supervised by someone who holds a valid Victorian Working with Children Clearance (unless exempt).
Child employment laws restrict when businesses can employ children and how long they can work:
- during a school term, children can be employed for a maximum of 3 hours a day and 12 hours per week
- during school holidays, children can be employed up to 6 hours a day and 30 hours a week
- children can only work between 6am and 9pm (unless street-trading).
Children must also receive a 30-minute rest break after every 3 hours work.