TK Maxx faces criminal charges in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria over alleged breaches of the state’s child employment laws at its Werribee store.
Wage Inspectorate Victoria, the state’s child employment regulator, has filed 33 charges against TJX Australia Pty Limited, trading as TK Maxx, alleging its Werribee store contravened the Child Employment Act 2003 by:
- employing 2 children under 15 without a permit on 12 occasions
- failing to ensure children were supervised by someone with a Working with Children Clearance
- employing a child for more hours than they are permitted to work
- employing a child later than 9pm
- failing to provide children with a 30-minute rest break for every 3 hours worked.
The maximum penalty for each offence is $18,429.
The matter has been listed for mention in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 8 November 2023.
The Wage Inspectorate began investigating TK Maxx following a child employment compliance blitz over the summer school holidays, which focussed on retail businesses in shopping centres across Melbourne.
Wage Inspectorate officers inspected 169 businesses across 8 shopping centres, including Chadstone, Southland, Eastland and Highpoint. 69 retail businesses were required to produce information about any workers under 15.
The compliance blitz led to 4 investigations and 29 suspected offences being identified. In addition to charges served to TK Maxx, 3 other businesses received official warnings.
The blitz also served as a valuable educational opportunity. Wage Inspectorate officers found many employers continue to mistakenly believe a child must be 14 and 9 months to work, and that no specific laws apply once they reach that age. Officers took the time to dispel that myth with the employers and ensure they had the information needed to comply with the law.
Victoria’s child employment laws require employers of children under 15 to have 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.
Children must also receive a 30-minute rest break after every 3 hours work.
Anna Basil-Jones - 0428 627 002