Employing children in Victoria - the Permit application process

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!

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 by giving them a call on 1800 287 287 or email childemployment@wageinspectorate.vic.gov.au.

We understand that taking on board all the information about child employment can be confusing and at times, a little overwhelming. Take a look at some of the scenarios we've listed below – one of them may apply to you.

Entertainment industry

Example – Sam needs to hire children for a production company

Sam has landed his first professional role within a production company. Sam has been given the responsibility of hiring two children under 15 years of age. Sam has never hired children before and isn't sure where to start. 

The employment of children under 15 years of age in Victoria is regulated under the Child Employment Act 2003 (Vic).

There are obligations and responsibilities within the Act and Mandatory Code of Practice for Children in Entertainment which must be complied with when employing children in Victoria.

Non-entertainment – industries other than entertainment

Example – Joe is a milk bar owner

Joe owns a local milk bar and wishes to employ a child, Anna, from the neighbourhood to restock the shelves. Anna is 14 years and 9 months old. Joe isn't sure whether Anna is old enough to work.

It's a common misconception that 14 years and 9 months is the minimum working age without a permit in Victoria.

Under the Child Employment Act 2003 (Vic) the minimum working age is 15 years without a permit in Victoria.

If you're looking to employ a child under the age of 15 years, you can do so by making an application online via the Child Employment Portal.

Travelling to Victoria from another state or country

Example – Alexis owns a NSW production company

Alexis runs a production company in NSW. She is hosting a large musical production that will tour across all states in Australia. Alexis hopes to employ ten children, to be involved. Alexis is familiar with the NSW laws on employing children but she isn't sure about the laws in each state and if they are different.

The employment of children in Victoria is regulated under the Child Employment Act 2003 (Vic). This Act applies to employing children under 15 years within Victoria.

Child employment laws differ from state to state – so make sure you check the laws relevant to the state in which you're employing the children.

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 email childemployment@wageinspectorate.vic.gov.au.

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.