Engaging Junior Workers During the Holiday Season

With the festive sales season in full swing and school holidays around the corner, it is crucial for businesses to check their child employment obligations twice and ensure they are compliant when engaging younger workers during the busy holiday season.

While the regulations on child employment vary in each State and Territory, the applicable pieces of legislation underpinning the regulations have an overarching objective to protect children not only as vulnerable workers, but to ensure their schooling is not impacted by them entering the workforce.

To take the guesswork out of navigating between each State and Territory’s differing rules, we have created a general summary of the key obligations to consider when engaging junior employees.

New South Wales

Legislation The Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW), the Industrial Relations (Child Employment) Act 2006 (NSW) and Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW).
Minimum Age There is no minimum age to start casual or part-time work. However, certain restrictions will apply to employees who are under 15 years of age.
Parental Consent There is no requirement for parental consent (unless the employee is engaged in live performance, a still photography session, door-to-door sales etc.)
Restrictions If your employee is under 15 years of age, the following restrictions will apply: 

  • Your employee cannot work more than 1 shift per day;
  • Your employee cannot work more than 4 hours (on a school day);
  • Your employee cannot work after 9.00pm (on a school night);
  • Your employee must have a 12 hour break between shifts;
  • Your employee must be provided with a 1 hour rest break after each 4 hours of work;
  • You must not roster your employee in such a way that their time engaged in school and work combined exceeds 50 hours; and
  • Your employee cannot work during school hours.

For clarity, the restrictions above do not apply to employees 15 years of age and above.

Supervision Yes. Adult supervision is required.
Full-Time Employment You may only engage a junior employee on a full-time basis if the employee has completed Year 10, or turned 17, or permission from the Department of Education has been granted.