When children can work in Western Australia

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EmployerEmployee / worker

There are age restrictions on the type of job and working hours for children. These laws apply to all Western Australian businesses and all employers in the state and national industrial relations systems. 

As long as the work does not prevent school attendance, children of any age can:

  • work in a family business run by a relative such as a parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent
  • perform professionally as an actor, musician, entertainer or in an advertisement 
  • work  for charities and other not-for-profit organisations.

Children aged 10, 11 or 12 are allowed to deliver newspapers, pamphlets or advertising material, but they:

  • cannot work during school hours
  • cannot start work before 6.00am or finish later than 7.00pm and
  • must be accompanied at all times by a parent, or another adult who has written permission from a parents.

Children aged 13 and 14 are allowed to:

  • deliver newspapers, pamphlets or advertising material
  • work in a shop, fast food outlet, cafe, restaurant or
  • collect shopping trolleys from a retail outlet or adjacent area
    ​as long as
    • they have written permission from a parent
    • the job is outside school hours and
    • they do not start work before 6.00am or finish after 10.00pm.

Visit the Employment of children laws - shop, restaurant, fast food or takeaway food business page for specific information for employers and store managers operating a shop, restaurant, fast food or takeaway food business. 

Please note there are restrictions on the serving of alcohol by people under 18 years of age. Go to the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries website for more information. 

Children are considered to be employed if they perform work regardless of whether there is any form of payment (monetary or otherwise).

Penalties can be imposed on both the employer and parent if they allow a child to:

  • do work that is not allowed or work outside the allowed hours for their age – fine of up to $24,000 or up to $120,000 for an incorporated employer
  • perform in an indecent, obscene or pornographic manner – up to 10 years imprisonment
  • continue to work if the Department of Communities has issued a notice for the employment to cease because the work is harmful to the child – imprisonment for up to 3 years and a fine of up to $36,000 or $180,000 for an incorporated employer.

Record keeping

All state system employers are legally required to keep employment records that detail time worked, leave taken and pay received by employees.

Learn more on the record keeping requirements page

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