Employing children in Victoria

Hi, I'm Umi.

I'm a kid with a dream - to be a movie star. I'm under 15 years of age, so if I'm going to work in entertainment there's a few things we all need to know.

Whether you're an employer, mum or dad, school principal, or another rising star, we need to know about the Child Employment Act and Mandatory Code of Practice for the Employment of Children in Entertainment.

The Act is designed to help kids, like me, be able to do the work we love while still being safe and well looked after. The Code tells us what work is appropriate and explains stuff like rest breaks and tutoring requirements.

The main thing to know is that an employer will need a permit before a child can start work, whether paid or unpaid. To get the permit,
there's a straightforward process, but it's important you follow all the steps.

Step one - speak with the parent or guardian.  Inform them about the role, gain their permission, and gather important information.

Step two - make sure parents and guardians gain permission from a school principal if time off school is needed. It's up to the principal to tell
the employer what's necessary to ensure the student's tutoring is topnotch.

Step three - go online and fill out the application. Once you understand the process, you'll see it's super easy
to employ children. And the good news is, the permits are free.

If you need some help, you can always speak to my friends, the Child Employment Officers. They're really smart and will make sure you're well looked after.

Remember, the Act and the Code are here to make sure everyone wins.

To learn more, go to business.vic.gov.au/childemployment

Or call: 1800 287 287

OK, I'm ready for my close-up.

Maybe not THAT close!

Do you meet Child Safe Standards?

Organisations that employ a child for whom a permit is required under the Child Employment Act 2003 are also required to comply with Child Safe Standards.

Visit the Commission for Children and Young People's website for more information.

Overview of requirements

If you're considering employing someone under the age of 15, you'll need to consider the following:

For detailed information about everything listed above, visit our page on child employment laws and requirements.

For further advice and support, contact Wage Inspectorate Victoria.

Why do I have to apply for a child employment permit?

The employment of children under 15 years is regulated by the Child Employment Act 2003 (the Act).

The Act aims to protect children from any adverse effects of employment while recognising the benefits which children can gain.

The Act provides for a Permit system which requires an employer to make application prior to the employment commencing. The process is reasonably straightforward, and is intended to ensure that appropriate risk assessments have been completed and risks addressed.

Are all child employment permits the same?

No – not all child employment permits are the same.

The minimum age of employment in industries other than entertainment is different to those which apply in the entertainment industry.

Entertainment includes children employed in advertising such as modelling for advertising, catalogues, online or television commercials.

The allowable hours of work and other conditions of employment are also different, as are the procedures for applying for a permit.

Who issues permits?

Child employment officers at Wage Inspectorate Victoria in the Department of Premier and Cabinet are authorised to issue child employment permits.

You can get in contact with a child employment officer by calling them on 1800 287 287 or by sending them an email.

If I'm intending to employ children, when do I need to have a permit?

A permit needs to be obtained before employment of a child commences. This means that it must have been applied for –  and issued by – a child employment officer.

Merely having applied for the permit is not sufficient to allow you to employ a child.

To commence employment without a permit is a criminal offence – and may attract a penalty.

Child employment permit applications and support documents must be lodged a minimum of 72 hours (3 business days)* prior to a child commencing work. Applications received outside of this time frame will be refused.

Application assessments may take longer than 72 hours depending on numbers of children, complexity and demand.  Applicants are encouraged to submit applications as early as possible.

*unless subject to prior agreement with child employment

How do I apply for a child employment permit?

An application can be made by accessing the Child Employment Portal. You'll need to register an account using your email address and by creating a password.

If you'd prefer to download the forms, visit our pages on applying for a child employment permit for the entertainment industry, and industries other than entertainment.

Need help accessing the Child Employment Portal?

For assistance on how to use the Child Employment Portal, contact a child employment officer on 1800 287 287, or send them an email.

How long will it take for an application to be processed?

Child Employment requires a minimum of three (3) business days for all applications.

Keep in mind that the time it takes for an application to be processes can vary. For more complex applications, child employment officers will conduct an assessment of the work, and provide advice on the process and time requirements for issuing permits.

Here's a tip: make an enquiry first by contacting Wage Inspectorate Victoria to ensure you can allow sufficient time for permits to be obtained when required.

Upcoming project or production?

If you have an upcoming project or production, contact Wage Inspectorate Victoria for further information.

Do I have to keep records?

Employers are required to keep proper records of child employment under Child Employment Permits. Visit our page on how to keep proper records of child employment for further details.

Get help with child employment

If you own, are looking to purchase, or start a small business with under 20 employees, you may be eligible for our Child Employment Small Business Information Service (CESBIS).

CESBIS offers one-on-one information and advice regarding your responsibilities under the Victoria Child Employment Act.

To access this program, contact Wage Inspectorate Victoria.

Phone or email us for more information

Wage Inspectorate Victoria is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Child Employment Act 2003.

For further assistance and advice about employing children in Victoria, speak to a Wage Inspectorate officer by calling the Information Line on 1800 287 287, or send them an email.

We value your opinion

We welcome any feedback, comments and suggestions you might like to share.

You also have the option to make an anonymous report if you suspect someone is breaking the rules relating to child employment but you don’t want to provide personal information.