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Underage Workers, Under Review

Published September 7, 2022 (last updated on March 4, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer

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As Australian businesses continue to struggle with chronic worker shortages, Australia’s peak retail body, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has released a submission to the government’s jobs and skills summit calling for a unified approach to minimum working age requirements.

Employment relations firm, Employsure representing over 31,000 businesses across Australia and New Zealand applauded the efforts to simplifying employment obligations for businesses across Australia.

“Simplifying and creating consistency in regard to minimum age standards would be advantageous for all businesses particularly for those businesses that operate across State boundaries as legislation differs by State and Territory.”  said Mr. Roebuck

“For example, in Queensland the minimum employment age differs by age and industry, where generally the minimum working age is 13, however when doing supervised newspaper deliveries that age can be lowered to 11. In New South Wales there is no minimum working age at all.”

In addition to the differing minimum age that youth workers can be legally employed, restrictions on working hours, work type, and number of hours that can be worked. There are also exceptions that include working in a family business or entertainment industry that add further complexity.

Since the start of the year, Employsure advisors helped their small business clients with over 3600 pieces of advice on employee status, as well as over 38,000 pieces of advice relating to entitlements.

“We’ve seen a trend of growing concern from our clients as worker and skills shortages continue. While we applaud any efforts to simplify things for small businesses, it is unclear if the proposal from the ARA will address the core issue. But we intend to put this question directly to them via survey” continued Mr. Roebuck.

Employsure indicated they would poll their client base to gauge their willingness to hire younger workers to address short time labour shortages.

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