Kentucky Fried Chicken Pty Ltd - trading as KFC - was fined $30,000 in the Perth Industrial Magistrates Court yesterday for illegally employing a total of 16 children at its Ellenbrook, Forrestfield and Rockingham outlets.
The fine was the result of 16 charges under the Children and Community Service Act 2004 (the Act) of unlawfully employing children aged less than 15 years.
The charges arose out of Kentucky Fried Chicken Pty Ltd working the children on 153 separate occasions in shifts of work that were completed after 10pm.
Under the Act, it is lawful for fast food industry employers to employ children aged 13 to 15, but they are not permitted to work before 6am or later than 10pm. Breaches of the Act attract penalties of up to $120,000 if the employer is a body corporate.
Approximately a quarter of the 153 unlawful shifts worked by the children were completed after midnight, including an occasion where a 14-year-old finished at 1.17am. 21 of the unlawful shifts were worked on nights that preceded ordinary school days.
Labour Relations Director of Compliance and Education, Joseph Lee, said today that the penalty should serve as a warning to all employers of the seriousness with which the courts view these matters.
“The children in employment laws seek to provide children with the benefits of participating in employment while balancing the other important aspects of their lives, including their education,” Mr Lee said.
“Of particular concern in this matter was the lateness of the hour the children were working, and that some of the shifts occurred on nights prior to ordinary school days.”
Kentucky Fried Chicken Pty Ltd operates four KFC outlets in Western Australia. The remaining outlets are owned and operated by a separate and unrelated company that is not involved in this matter.
Mr Lee urged all employers - particularly with the school holidays upon us - to contact the Department’s Wageline service on 1300 655 266 to ensure they understand their obligations when employing children and do not breach these laws.
Joseph Lee, Director Compliance and Education
0419 951 245