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The current and on-going labour shortages have given rise to some unexpected risks for employers, including those in the building industry, in employing young employees.

The Children and Community Services Act prohibits an employer from employing a young person under 15 years of age save for certain limited occupations such as working in delivering local newspapers, in fast food establishments and collecting trolleys in shopping centres subject to written parental approval.  That is, employing a young person in occupations outside these nominated occupations is unlawful and carries financial penalties for all parties.

This Act makes it an offence for an employer to employ a young person under 15 years of age, irrespective of parental agreement or not, outside the nominated allowed occupations. The Act imposes an automatic penalty for employers of $24,000.

An employer can raise a defence under the Act that they had reasonable cause to believe the person had reached 15 years of age when employing that young person but the onus falls on the employer to prove that belief.

Master Builders recommends employers when considering employing young people in their mid teens including on a part-time or casual basis should seek proof of age and/or confirm with the parents of the young person what their actual age is and that it be confirmed in writing.

Master Builder members may contact our Construction Director on 9476 9800 to clarify their obligations, if required.

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