Laws restrict when children under 15 can work in takeaway food businesses, and a proactive campaign to improve compliance with these laws has just commenced.
As part of the education stage of this campaign, Wageline is providing takeaway food businesses across Western Australia with information about their obligations for employing children.
If you own or manage a takeaway food business, you need to know:
- 13 years old is the youngest a child can work in your industry
- a child who is 13 or 14 can only work between 6am and 10pm, and outside of school hours
- written permission from a parent is a legal requirement if you employ a 13 or 14 year old
- a child is considered to be working whether they are paid or not paid for the work they do
- business owners can face substantial fines of up to $24,000 or up to $120,000 for an incorporated employer for:
- employing children under 13 years of age, or
- employing 13 or 14 year olds outside the permitted hours or
- employing 13 or 14 year olds without written permission from a parent.
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.
The Children and Community Services Act 2004 regulates the employment of children under the age of 15 years and applies to all businesses in Western Australia.
Following the education component of the campaign, selected businesses will be audited by industrial inspectors from the Private Sector Labour Relations Division to ensure that children are not being employed or otherwise engaged in breach of the Children and Community Services Act. If breaches are identified, the Department may initiate prosecution action in the Industrial Magistrates Court.
More information is available on the Employment of children laws in WA – shop, restaurant, fast food or takeaway food business page of the Wageline website, or by contacting Wageline on 1300 655 266.
The Wageline website also contains:
- a template form for written parental permission required for 13 and 14 year old workers.
- a self-audit checklist to help employers conduct a self-audit of compliance with the child employment laws and implement strategies to improve compliance.
Workplace safety is also a critical issue for all workers in food businesses - find out more about your safety obligations from WorkSafe on 1300 307 877 or www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/worksafe.