Skip to content
Employment Relations, Industrial Relations

New child employment laws increase protections and penalties

Wage Inspectorate Victoria 2 mins read

New child employment laws are now in effect in Victoria, with a modernised and simpler licensing system and stronger penalties to make sure kids under 15 are kept as safe as possible in the workplace. 

The state’s child employment watchdog, Wage Inspectorate Victoria, is urging employers to take time to understand the laws, as research exposes common misconceptions about child employment. 

Research shows that 33 per cent of Victorians mistakenly believe 14 and 9 months is the age kids can start working and a further 25 per cent believe they have to be 15 to get a job, but provided the employer has a licence, children can do delivery work from 11 and other types of work from 13.

14 and 9 months used to be the age kids could leave school and enter the workforce, which is where this myth has come from, but Victoria’s child employment laws say nothing about being 14 and 9 months and they haven’t for a very long time.

The new laws, designed in consultation with stakeholders and the community, see a licensing system replace a permit system and enables businesses to employ multiple kids under one licence, instead of needing a permit for each child they employ.

The system includes a ‘fit and proper person’ test which considers, among other things, an employer’s compliance with child employment and other relevant workplace laws.

From today, the Wage Inspectorate has stronger powers and the maximum penalty for employing a child without a licence has also increased from $18,500 to more than $200,000. 

In addition to obtaining a licence, there are other important rules employers must follow, like making sure kids are getting adequate rest breaks, finishing work by 9pm and not working during school hours. 

More information about child employment and the upcoming changes can be found at

Quotes attributable to Commissioner of Wage Inspectorate Victoria Robert Hortle

“Working can provide valuable experience for kids but they’re still developing both mentally and physically and require extra precautions in the workplace.” 

“The new system reduces the burden for businesses but not the protection for kids. We’ll still be out there monitoring compliance throughout the state.”

“Tougher penalties show that taking advantage of children in the workplace will not be tolerated. These are serious laws with serious consequences.”

“It’s great to give young workers a go, but it’s important to do so safely.” 

Contact details:

Anna Basil-Jones, Senior Communications Adviser: 0428 627 002

More from this category

  • Employment Relations, Industrial Relations
  • 29/05/2024
  • 13:13
Wage Inspectorate Victoria

Labour hire agency fined $15,500 for failing to pay long service leave entitlements

A labour hire agency has been fined $15,500 without conviction in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court after failing to pay casual workers their long service leave entitlements, despite them completing at least 7 years’ service. Allstaff Australia RJE Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to pay 5 casual employees more than $32,000 in outstanding long service leave entitlements on the day their employment ended. Individual underpayments ranged from $5,176 to $7,460, with some employees not receiving the money they were owed for over two years after their employment ended. Wage Inspectorate Victoria began an investigation into Allstaff Australia RJE in November…

  • Agriculture Farming Rural, Employment Relations
  • 29/05/2024
  • 09:22

Union comes to the table – Wilmar’s deal gets worse

A last-ditch attempt by workers to break the deadlock at the Wilmar Sugar bargaining table by offering a generous concession on their wage claim…

  • Contains:
  • Employment Relations
  • 28/05/2024
  • 10:34
Legal Aid NSW

Surge in NSW workers seeking legal help for wage theft

Demand for legal advice from Legal Aid NSW about wages and entitlements is sharply up in the past year, with the number of people asking Legal Aid NSW’s Employment Law Service about their wages and entitlements increasing 43 per cent between 2022 and 2023.[1] We urge migrant workers, who are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, to seek advice if they have concerns. Giles Fryer, solicitor in Legal Aid NSW’s Employment Law Team, said common wage-related issues included breach of contract and wage theft, including underpayment or non-payment of entitlements. “We often see employees who are paid below Award rates and not…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.