Young workers under the age of 16 are particularly vulnerable. In the ACT, there are particular rules and guidelines about what kind of work you can do, how many hours you can work, and how much you should be paid. 

When can I start work?

Unlike other states and territories, there is no minimum age for when you are allowed to start work in the ACT. However, there are particular rules that must be followed to make sure you are treated fairy. 

How many hours can I work?

You cannot work for more than 10 hours a week if you are under 15 years old. You are not supposed to have more than one shift per day. You also should not work before 6am or after 10pm. You should not be asked to work during times when you should be at school or training. 

If you are aged 15 to 17 years old, you are not restricted to working 10 hours a week. The maximum hours you can work is determined by your Award or Enterprise Agreement.

What kind of work can I do?

You should not be asked to do work that is high risk - such as using dangerous machinery, substances, high elevation work, or serving alcohol. 

How much should I be paid?

You should be paid at the correct rate, which depends on your Award or Enterprise Agreement. Some Awards and Agreements have Junior Rates, where you can be paid a percentage of the adult minimum wage if you are under 21 years old. Check your Award or Agreement to see how much you should be paid. You can check if you are being paid correctly by checking your payslip, which you should receive each time you are paid.

What rules apply if I am under 15 years old?

If you are under 15 years old, you must be given 'light work', which means work that is suitable for your physical and mental ability, is properly supervised, and protected from hazards. Your parents or guardians must also give their permission for you to work. 

What other laws apply?

Your employer must follow all workplace laws, such as those about record-keeping, workplace safety, correct payment, and other entitlements. All of this applies even if you are employed by your family.

No matter what, your safety and education should come first. You should also be paid properly and be given all your entitlements. 

For more information, have a look at the ACT Government's Young Workers Guide here.

What do I do if I have any more questions, or think I am not being treated fairly? 

If you think you might be being treated unfairly or have a question about your entitlements, get in touch with us. We can give you advice about what your entitlements are, and help you decide what to do. We can also direct you to other people who can help.  

To find out more about how to join your union, visit http://www.unionsact.org.au/joinyourunion/ or have a look at our fact sheet here.

Authorised by M Harrison for UnionsACT, 11 London Circuit, Canberra ACT 2601.

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