When can I start working?

Do you have a question about work? For free and confidential legal advice you can ask us a question here or contact us on 1800 953 673 (9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday).

You can start working at any age, however your employer will have to follow certain rules depending on your age. You can only work full time when you have completed year 10, or turned 17, or have the permission of the Department of Education.

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What age can I start work?

There is no minimum age to start casual or part-time work in NSW. However, you have to be 14 and 9 months to do door-to-door sales work.  

What hours can I work?

If you are under 15, it is against the law for an employer to require you to work:

  • During school hours
  • More than one shift per day
  • More than four hours on a day you have to go to school
  • More than five consecutive days
  • After 9pm if you have to go to school the next day
  • If it is less than 12 hours since your last shift
  • For any hours that make the combination of your school hours and work hours in a 7 day week more than 50 hours

There are additional rules about working hours if you are doing door-to-door sales, modelling, theatrical performances or entertainment work.  Click here for more information.

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 after you turn 17.

However, if you have finished year 10 and you want to work full-time instead of continuing school, you may apply for an exemption to leave school and work full time instead. Please see our page on leaving school for more information.

Where can I get further help?

For information and advice about your rights, entitlements and obligations as an employee, check out the Fair Work Ombudsman website or call the Fair Work Info line on 13 13 94.

If you’re under 25 and are unsure about your rights or responsibilities or what to do next, you can get free, confidential legal advice here. 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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