What age can I start work?

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When can I start work?

No matter how old you are, you can work in:

  • a family business;
  • a dramatic or musical performance, or any other form of entertainment; or
  • the making of an advertisement.

If you are 10, 11 or 12 you can be employed to deliver newspapers, pamphlets or advertising material, as long as a parent goes with you or you have written permission from your parent for another adult to go with you.

If you are 13 or 14 you can do the following work if you have a parent’s written permission:

  • Delivering newspapers, pamphlets or advertising material;
  • Working in a shop, retail outlet or restaurant, or
  • Collecting shopping trolleys for a shop.

From when you turn 15, you can work in other jobs as well, such as in a shop, restaurant, trade or office.

What hours can I work?

If you are under 17, it is against the law for an employer to employ you during school hours unless:

  • you have an agreement with your school principal and your parents; or
  • you are in year 11 or year 12 and the Minster for Education approves; or
  • you are in year 11 or year 12 and you are doing an apprenticeship or approved Vocational Education and Training course, or undertaking a course of study provided by a university.

If you are 10, 11 or 12, you can work between the hours of 6am and 7pm.

If you are 13 or 14, you can work between 6am and 10pm.

When can I work full-time?

You can work full-time if you have completed the compulsory attendance at school or at the end of the year that you turn 17.

If you are in year 11 or 12, you may be able to work full-time if the Minster for Education approves.

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


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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