Skip to content
Human Resources, Industrial Relations

Surf Coast businesses put on notice after child employment compliance blitz uncovers hundreds of breaches

Wage Inspectorate Victoria 2 mins read

Several Surf Coast businesses have received official warnings for breaching Victoria’s child employment laws following a summer compliance blitz that found 89 per cent of businesses employing kids under 15 were breaching at least one aspect of the law.

The state’s child employment regulator, Wage Inspectorate Victoria, inspected businesses from Torquay to Lorne, requiring them to provide information about any employees under 15. Of the businesses who were employing kids under 15:

  • 56% were employing children without the required licence and were breaching other child employment conditions.
  • 33% had a child employment licence but were breaching rules about supervision, work hours and rest breaks.

All unlicensed businesses subsequently applied for a licence.

The Wage Inspectorate’s investigations identified approximately 550 alleged offences against the Child Employment Act 2003, with most relating to children working outside allowable hours or not being given adequate breaks.

After considering the circumstances of the alleged offending, the cooperation of the businesses and their attempts to bring themselves into compliance, the businesses were issued formal warnings.

Wage Inspectorate officers also took the time to talk to employers about the state’s child employment laws, helping businesses understand their obligations.

Following the compliance blitz, the Wage Inspectorate saw a 366% increase in Surf Coast businesses applying for child employment licences.

Quotes attributable to Robert Hortle, Commissioner of Wage Inspectorate Victoria  

“Our intelligence suggested surf coast businesses may not be complying with child employment laws, so we expected to find breaches, but it’s concerning that most businesses employing kids were breaching the law in one way or another. It shows the need for ongoing education and compliance monitoring.”

“Some businesses were unaware they needed a child employment licence, some had overlooked licence conditions, while others were unaware they could employ kids under 15 and were pleased to learn more about how they could do so safely and legally.”

“We saw a sharp increase in Surf Coast businesses applying for child employment licences, so the campaign clearly raised awareness of these important laws and businesses are keen to comply.”

“The Wage Inspectorate is here to help businesses hire kids under 15 safely and legally because it can be a positive experience for both the child and business. We’d much rather help businesses comply and keep kids safe than take matters to court.”

About child employment laws

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

Workers under 15 must be supervised by someone over 18 years, 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 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.

The Wage Inspectorate’s enforcement action is taken in line with its Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

Further information can be found at

Contact details:

Anna Basil-Jones - 0428 627 002

More from this category

  • General News, Industrial Relations
  • 15/07/2024
  • 08:52

CFMEU makes unprecedented response to serious allegations

An emergency meeting of the national executive of the CFMEU has this morning decided that the Victorian Branch will be placed into administration, with the National Office to assume all senior executive powers. CFMEU National Secretary Zach Smith said he would use the new powers to immediately establish an independent process, overseen by a leading legal figure, to investigate any credible allegations of wrongdoing. “The CFMEU has zero tolerance for criminality and anyone found to have engaged in criminal conduct while representing the CFMEU will be identified and removed,” Mr Smith said. “The CFMEU has one purpose and one purpose…

  • Building Construction, Industrial Relations
  • 14/07/2024
  • 21:18
Master Builders Australia

Master Builders statement on CFMEU investigation

The joint media investigation into the operations and underworld links within the CFMEU confirms what Master Builders has long known and called out – union representatives with a comprehensive disregard for the law and the industry it claims to represent. Governments cannot turn a blind eye to this abhorrent and alleged criminal behaviour that we have seen displayed over the past few days. Master Builders implores the Prime Minister and all state leaders to urgently explore all possible options to clean up this mess. Our recommendations for urgent action are as follows: Establishment of a cross-jurisdiction police strike force to…

  • Contains:
  • 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.…

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.