Last updated 19 April 2017
Children and young workers’ employment will be governed by a number of legislative instruments:
- Child Employment Act 2006 (Qld) (Child Employment Act)
- Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Fair Work Act)
- Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld) (Industrial Relations Act)
- Further Education and Training Act 2014 (Qld) (FET Act)
- Education (Work Experience) Act 1996 (Qld) (Work Experience Act)
- Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) (WCR Act).
Part 2 of the Child Employment Regulation 2006 (Qld) (Child Employment Regulation) places restrictions on the age a child can work, the type of work a child can engage in, the number of hours that a child can work when they are attending school, and sets out requirements for parental consent.
The restrictions relating to age and hours of work do not apply where the child is employed in their family’s business or in the entertainment industry. There are separate regulations covering children in the entertainment industry that deliberately exclude some of the general restrictions (e.g. minimum age and hours). Separate provisions for working hours have been created, and there are greater supervisory conditions.
The general child employment laws provide that the maximum allowable hours of work for school-aged children are:
- on a school day 4 hours
- on a non-school day 8 hours
- during a school week a total of 12 hours
- during a non-school week a total of 38 hours.
Children aged between 11 and 13 years are only able to perform delivery work or voluntary work, and not between 6 pm and 6 am, while all children under the age of 16 are not allowed to work between 10 pm and 6 am (reg 7 Child Employment Regulation).
A child can apply for a special circumstances certificate to the chief executive of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General to be exempted from certain restrictions (s 12 Child Employment Act).
These laws do not regulate work carried out as part of work experience, vocational placements, apprenticeships, traineeships and charitable collections, all of which are covered by other legislation.
A parent commits an offence if they employ or permit their child to be employed during school hours unless the parent has a reasonable excuse (s 230 Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld)).
For many jobs, the relevant award or industrial agreement also has special provisions for young people.