Laws prohibit children under 15 working in horse riding schools and equestrian centres

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Laws prohibit children under 15 working in horse riding schools and equestrian centres

If you run or manage a business that is a horse riding or equestrian centre you need to know:

  • 15 years old is the youngest a child can work for a business in your industry.
  • a child is considered to be working whether they are paid or not paid for the work they do.
  • ‘volunteer’ work or a child helping around the premises in return for free or discounted riding lessons is illegal if the child is under 15 years old.
  • children aged 15 and over of school age are allowed to work in the equestrian industry only outside of school hours.
  • business owners can face substantial fines for employing children under 15 years of age – up to $24,000 or up to $120,000 for an incorporated employer.

There are exclusions if the child is working in a family business owned by a relative such as a parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent, or the organisation is a charity or not-for-profit organisation.

More information about employment of children in the equestrian industry is available on the Wageline website or via wageline@dmirs.wa.gov.au or 1300 655 266.

Wageline provides information about pay rates, leave entitlements and other employment arrangements for state system employers (unincorporated businesses such as sole traders and partnerships) and assists all employers and employees in Western Australia with queries about long service leave and employment of children.

Workplace safety is also a critical issue for all workers in the equestrian industry - find out more about your safety obligations from WorkSafe on 1300 307 877 or www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/worksafe.

Equestrian employer prosecuted for employing children under 15

Laws prohibit children under 15 years of age working in a horse riding school or equestrian centre unless the business is owned by a close relative, or the organisation is a charity or not-for-profit organisation.

The owner of a horse riding school in Perth learnt this the hard way when the business was prosecuted for breaching the Children and Community Services Act 2004 and fined for employing three children under the age of 15.

The children were employed by the horse riding school to perform stable hand duties, which included mucking and raking horse stalls, feeding and watering horses and general cleaning duties.  

More information is available on the Wageline website or contact Wageline via wageline@dmirs.wa.gov.au or 1300 655 266.

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Last updated 12 Nov 2018

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