Feb 28, 2014

Crikey Clarifier: how soon can you send your kids to work?

Child labour laws in Australia are far from uniform, with some states sending kids as young as 11 to work. After McDonald's was busted for underage employment, Crikey intern Luca Zuccaro examines the legalities.

How young is too young to send your kid off to the coal mines? It depends what state you live in.

In Western Australia, McDonald’s was fined $15,000 last week in the Perth Industrial Magistrates’ Court for illegally employing a 14-year-old girl to work overnight shifts in its Rockingham outlet. State Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the Department of Commerce had initiated the action against the company after learning the child was spending too many hours at work and working past 10pm, breaching the Children and Community Service Act 2004. Mischin said in a statement:

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6 thoughts on “Crikey Clarifier: how soon can you send your kids to work?

  1. klewso

    How long can you keep a job?

  2. AR

    How else are we expected to have our chimneys cleaned and our junk food served, if not by under age, slave rate labour?

  3. Timble

    What are the laws in ACT?

  4. Two Bird Stone

    “Usually, they worked to spend money (80%) and to save (60%).” … Thanks for clarifying that, Clarifier.

  5. Kevin_T

    I left school at 16 on the completion of my School Certificate in New South Wales, and started working full time in my chosen career as a trainee stock and station agent in Wodonga Victoria.

    A child is defined as “those individuals under the age of 18” years of age, and in Victoria a child is not allowed to work more than 12 hours per week during the school term (even though, according to Wikipedia, a “child” in Victoria can leave school at the age of 17 nowadays).

    Who’d have thought that leaving school before 18 to pursue a chosen career path would go on to be deemed immoral, let alone illegal?

    I had a good work ethic, and have known others that left school at 16 who had good work ethics, and felt that how they continued their lives was more productive than sitting in school for another couple of years. Now, it appears, those who don’t suit the school mould, and leave when they are allowed to at 17, are not even allowed work full time hours. Hooray for the bureaucracy stopping youth from becoming a productive part of society at their own rate.

  6. Timble

    What are the laws in ACT and the NT? (Particularly given that the NT has the nation’s highest proportion of child workers at 12%).

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