When can I start working?

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When can I start work?

There is no minimum age to start casual or part-time work in ACT.  However if you are under the age of 15, you can only do light work.  Examples of light work are:

  • running errands
  • casual work in and around a private home
  • work related to sporting activities such as being and umpire, referee or tennis court attendant
  • clerical work
  • work as a cashier
  • gardening
  • babysitting
  • modelling
  • performing arts (including film, television, theatre).

If you are under 15, your parents will need to give written permission to your employer before you commence work.

What hours can I work?

It is against the law for an employer to employ you during hours you are required to be at school. You cannot be required do work that is not in your best interests, such as work that interferes with your school work.

There are limits on how many hours you can work each day depending on age:

  • Children aged 0 – 3 can work for 3 hours a day;
  • Children aged  4 – 11 can work 4 hours a day;
  • Children aged 12 – 14 can work 6 hours a day.

Additionally, there are additional conditions imposed for anyone under the age of 15:

  • The maximum that anyone under 15 can work in a week is 10 hours;
  • You must have at least 12 hours between each shift;
  • You cannot work more than one shift per day;
  • You cannot work before 6am or sunrise (whichever is later) or after 10pm.

If an employer wants you to work more than 10 hours a week (such as in school holidays), they need to contact the director-general at least a week before the work starts.

If you are aged 15 – 17, there is no limit on the number of hours you can work, however the hours you are working should not interfere with your education.  

If you want some specific advice on your situation, you can contact us here.

When can I work full-time?

You can work full-time when you turn 17 or when you finish year 12, whichever happens first.

You can also make an application to work full-time if you have completed year 10. To do this you or your parents need to apply to the Chief Executive of the ACT Department of Education and Training for approval. You will need your parent’s consent to do this (unless the Chief Executive decides that is not reasonable). For information on how to apply, click here.

Where can I get further help?

Employees can test their knowledge about pay in the FWO’s Workplace Basics Quiz, available here.

For information and advice about the Fair Work System including your rights, entitlements and obligations, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website or call the Fair Work Info line on 13 13 94.

If you’re under 25 and have a question about work that we haven’t answered here, please contact us here and we can give you free information and advice. You can also contact us on 1800 953 673 (9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday).


Youth Law Australia would like to express thanks to Hall & Wilcox and the Fair Work Ombudsman for assisting us with the preparation of this material.

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