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Muffin Break store pleads guilty to 360 child employment charges, convicted and fined $10,000

Wage Inspectorate Victoria 2 mins read

The Southland Muffin Break store located in the level 3 food court, has been convicted and fined $10,000 after pleading guilty to 360 breaches of Victoria’s child employment laws.

Wage Inspectorate Victoria, the state’s child employment regulator, began investigating Rianshi Pty Ltd, trading as Muffin Break (Southland), after receiving a report that children under 15 were employed without a child employment permit.

Today, in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court, Rianshi Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to:

  • employing 3 children under 15 without a permit on 111 occasions
  • failing to ensure the children were supervised by someone with a Working with Children Clearance
  • failing to provide a rest break of at least 30 minutes after every 3 hours of work
  • employing children for longer than 3 hours per day during a school term
  • employing children for longer than 6 hours per day during school holidays.

The offences took place between 31 March and 20 October 2022.

In sentencing, his Honour Magistrate Thomas noted the importance of ensuring work does not negatively affect a child’s wellbeing or impact their schooling.

In recording a conviction, his Honour considered the large number of charges, the extended time over which they occurred, and that they involved multiple children.

His Honour also recognised the good corporate character of the company, its genuine remorse, and its early guilty plea. Had it not been for the early guilty plea, his Honour said he would have imposed a fine of $15,000.

Quotes attributable to Lily Dekic, Acting Commissioner of Wage Inspectorate Victoria

“This Muffin Break store is the type of business where many kids get their first job. It’s crucial they provide a safe workplace for young people – it’s what the community expects and what the Wage Inspectorate requires.”

“The biggest risk from breaking child employment laws is that a child gets seriously hurt in the workplace, but this judgement shows there are reputational and financial risks too.”

“Our community is very protective of children’s wellbeing in the workplace and often let us know when they see something of concern, as happened in this case. In addition to our officers, community members are our eyes and ears in Victorian workplaces.”

Background

Victoria’s child employment laws require employers of children under 15 to hold a child employment permit or licence before any work takes place.

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.

A prosecution is the Wage Inspectorate’s most serious compliance tool and decisions to take legal action are made in line with its Compliance and Enforcement Policy.


Contact details:

Daniel Simpson
media@wageinspectorate.vic.gov.au
0476 884 205

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