Private sector employers and employees
Telephone: 1300 655 266
Locked Bag 100
East Perth WA 6892
The Children and Community Services Act 2004 (CCS Act) prohibits children under 15 working in horse riding schools and equestrian centres. These child employment laws apply to all Western Australian employers.
If you run or manage a business that is a horse riding or equestrian centre you need to know:
There are exclusions in this industry 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.
There are different child employment laws which apply to other types of businesses. Visit the When children can work page for more information.
In September 2018, the Private Sector Labour Relations Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety commenced a campaign to promote compliance by horse riding schools and equestrian centre businesses with the child employment laws. Private Sector Labour Relations is responsible for ensuring all businesses in Western Australia comply with the legal requirements regarding when children can work.
Following the education component of the campaign in September 2018, selected businesses are now being audited by industrial inspectors from Private Sector Labour Relations to ensure that children are not being employed or otherwise engaged in breach of the CCS Act. For the audit, records will need to be provided, that will then be examined by industrial inspectors.
If any breaches of the CCS Act are identified, business owners will be requested to immediately revise their employment practices to ensure compliance and, depending on the nature of any breaches, Private Sector Labour Relations may conduct an investigation with a view to initiating prosecution action in the Industrial Magistrates Court.
No. It is lawful to employ children of any age who are family members or other relatives of the owner of the horse riding school or equestrian centre.
No. For the purpose of the Children and Community Services Act 2004, the word ‘employ’ includes engaging a child to carry out work for which they do not receive any payment or other reward. Children under 15 years cannot work in a horse riding school or equestrian centre, even if they are not paid, or paid in kind (i.e. paid in horse riding lessons).
No parental permission is required. However, it is good business practice to obtain parental permission when employing a junior employee and to make sure the parent understands the employment arrangement with the junior employee.
Under the School Education Act 1999 a person must not employ a child of compulsory school age during the hours when the child is required to attend school or otherwise participate in an educational program of a school. There are certain exceptions where a child can be working, or working and studying, if the child has been exempted from attending school. The school the child attends or the relevant regional education office can be contacted for more information.
The penalties are:
If rubbing down the horse and taking it back to the stable is included in the riding lesson and are activities associated with handling and caring for a horse then this is unlikely to be considered working. In this situation there is no employment relationship.
No. This is considered working under the Children and Community Services Act 2004. If a child is engaged in work, whether or not they are paid or receive other rewards (for example, paying a lesser fee for a riding lesson), they are considered to be employed.
Yes. If there is doubt about a child’s age it is in the best interests of the employer to ask for proof, such as a birth certificate. If an employer allows a child who is under the age of 15 to work in a horse riding school or equestrian centre then, under the Children and Community Services Act 2004, an employer could face fines of up to $24,000 or $120,000 if the employer is a body corporate.
Two different industrial relations systems operate in WA, the state system and the national fair work system. Which system applies to a particular business or organisation and its employees depends on the type of business arrangement under which the employer operates.
Generally, the state system includes businesses (and their employees) that are:
The national ‘fair work’ system covers Western Australian businesses that are constitutional corporations. This includes:
National system employers should visit www.fairwork.gov.au for information on pay rates and employment obligations.
There is no WA award that applies to state system businesses in the horse riding and equestrian centre industry. Visit the Minimum pay rates for award free employees page or contact Wageline on 1300 655 266 for information on pay rates for state system employees.
There are different record keeping requirements depending on whether the business is operating in the state industrial relations system or the national industrial relations system.
State industrial relations system
The following Acts contain general employment record keeping requirements for businesses in the state industrial relations system:
It is important to note that employers in the State system are required to record the date of birth of any employee under 21 years of age.
Visit the Record keeping requirements page for more information.
National industrial relations system
The Fair Work Act 2009 contains general record keeping requirements for businesses in the national industrial relations system. These requirements apply to employees covered by the national industrial relations system and by national modern awards and agreements.
Visit www.fairwork.gov.au for more information.
Find out more about about the laws prohibiting children under 15 working in horse riding schools and equestrian centres.