Skip to content
Employment Relations, Industrial Relations

Red Rooster Wodonga fined $5500 for child employment breaches, ordered to pay costs

Wage Inspectorate Victoria 3 mins read

Red Rooster Wodonga has been fined $5500 and ordered to pay $4000 in costs in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to 29 breaches of Victoria’s child employment laws.

Wage Inspectorate Victoria, the state’s child employment regulator, began investigating Wodonga Food Pty Ltd, trading as Red Rooster Wodonga, in August 2022 after receiving a tip-off from the community alleging the business was employing children under 15 years of age without the relevant permits.

Today, Red Rooster Wodonga pleaded guilty to:

  • employing 10 children under the age of 15 without a permit on 154 occasions
  • failing to ensure the children were supervised by someone with a Working with Children Clearance on 154 occasions
  • employing children for more hours than they are permitted to work on 12 occasions
  • employing children later than 9pm on 3 occasions.

The offences took place between 9 April 2022 and 24 September 2022.

In sentencing, his Honour Magistrate Gattuso did not record a conviction, noting that while ignorance of the law is no excuse, the offending was inadvertent or negligent, not reckless or deliberately non-compliant.

His Honour noted that the Red Rooster franchise provided the franchisee with a pack containing information that did not reflect Victoria’s child employment laws. He noted that while the onus is on franchisees to comply with the law, large corporate franchisors have a duty not to provide incorrect information.

If not for the early guilty plea and cooperation with the Wage Inspectorate, his Honour said a fine of $10,000 with conviction would have been recorded.

Quotes attributable to Robert Hortle Commissioner of Wage Inspectorate Victoria

“Red Rooster Wodonga is the type of business where many kids get their first job, so the community rightly expects it to have a strong focus on creating a safe workplace for kids, which is what child employment laws help ensure.”

“Businesses shouldn’t expect to get away with breaking child employment laws – community members look out for the wellbeing of kids and will tip us off when they see something of concern, particularly in close-knit regional towns.”

“The Magistrate referred to information provided by the franchisor which contained incorrect information about Victoria’s child employment laws. We’re looking to franchisors, particularly large, well-resourced corporations, to show leadership in this space and ensure their franchisees comply with child employment laws.”

“The greatest risk of flouting child employment laws is a kid getting hurt in the workplace, but this outcome shows there are financial and reputational risks too.”

"The Wage Inspectorate took 11 businesses to court last year over alleged child employment breaches and we saw businesses convicted and fined up to $10,000.”

Background

Recently, Wage Inspectorate Victoria successfully prosecuted Cold Rock and Muffin Break franchisees.

A business usually needs a child employment permit or licence to employ someone under 15, whether the work is paid or voluntary. Employing a child without a permit or licence is a crime and may be penalised.

Workers under 15 must be supervised by someone who holds a valid Victorian Working with Children Clearance.

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 a 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 of 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.

More information about Victoria’s child employment laws is available on the Wage Inspectorate’s website or by calling 1800 287 287.


Contact details:

Anna Basil-Jones - 0428 627 002 

More from this category

  • Agriculture Farming Rural, Employment Relations
  • 11/07/2024
  • 11:13
AWU

More Disasters for Wilmar Management

According to the most recent data, Wilmar mills have barely reached 60% capacity in recent days of crushing, meaning on average Wilmar’s eight mills are each sitting idle for nearly ten hours every day, due to a combination low staffing and poor maintenance by inexperienced contractors. This follows a report that the Plane Creek Mill experienced a lengthy stoppage, due to a snapped screw, which initially snapped in 2022, and hasn’t been properly repaired since. This stoppage also means the attached ethanol distillery has also been sitting idle. AWU Northern District Secretary Jim Wilson said this issue was a direct…

  • Industrial Relations, Oil Mining Resources
  • 08/07/2024
  • 13:34
Offshore Alliance

Heads must roll at WA WorkSafe over botched oil and gas safety investigation

The Maritime Union of Australia and the Australian Workers’ Union are calling for heads to roll at the Western Australian Safety Regulator WorkSafe after failing to prosecute the companies responsible for a potentially deadly incident thatwascaptured dramatically on video and exposed on the Offshore Alliance’s social media channels. Two offshore workers were almost killed in 2021 during the decommissioning of Santos’sSinbadoil platform, when the lifting process of an oil platform failed and the removed head of the platform swung wildly from a crane above the scrambling work crew, who hung for dear life on the side of the tower below.…

  • Industrial Relations, Oil Mining Resources
  • 05/07/2024
  • 13:21
Offshore Alliance

Heads must roll at WA WorkSafe over botched oil and gas safety investigation

The Maritime Union of Australia and the Australian Workers’ Union are calling for heads to roll at the Western Australian Safety Regulator WorkSafe after failing to prosecute the companies responsible for a potentially deadly incident thatwascaptured dramatically on video and exposed on the Offshore Alliance’s social media channels. Two offshore workers were almost killed in 2021 during the decommissioning of Santos’sSinbadoil platform, when the lifting process of an oil platform failed and the removed head of the platform swung wildly from a crane above the scrambling work crew, who hung for dear life on the side of the tower below.…

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.