Most children in Australia are allowed to begin part time work at about the age of 14, as long as this work does not conflict with their education.
Each State has different laws on most things, and this topic is no exception.
The following is taken from one of Australia’s largest employees of children, McDonald’s, and I would assume they would be pretty accurate in their information.
As at July 2009, the following legislative restrictions apply in each State:
NSW, NT, SA, TAS
The minimum age of employment outside school hours is 14 years of age for casual and part time employees.
It is our policy that if you are 14 years of age, but not yet 14 years and 9 months that:
Your parent or guardian provides written consent for you to start work
You must be able to demonstrate during the interview that you have the ability to handle difficult situations and the skill to fulfil the required positions.
In Victoria, the employment of children is governed by the Child Employment Act 2003 which states that the minimum age of employment is 15 years of age.
In Queensland, the employment of children is governed by the Child Employment Act 2006.
The Act requires employees who are under 16 years of age and have not yet finished Year 10, to provide parental consent to commence work.
Employees under 16 may only work 12 hours during a school week (38 hours a week during school holidays), with each shift being a maximum of 4 hours Monday to Friday and 8 hours Saturday and Sunday.
All hours of work must be between 6am and 10pm.
In Western Australia, the employment of children is governed by the Children and Community Services Act 2004 and the School Education Act 1999, which state that the minimum age of employment is 15 years of age.
Employees who are under 15 years of age need to provide parental consent to commence work and may only work between 6am and 10pm if the work is outside of school hours.
Legislation also requires compulsory attendance at school for children up to the year they turn 17.
Employees under 17 years of age may not work during school.
In the Australian Capital Territory, the employment of children is governed by The Children and Young People Act 2008.
The recommended minimum age for full time employment in ACT is school leaving age (ie. 15 years of age).
It is possible to be employed below this age for a maximum of 10 hours per week.
However, if you wish to be employed for more than 10 hours per week, prior approval must be obtained from the Chief Executive of the Department of Housing, Disability and Community Services.