Employing children in the entertainment industry

State legislation regarding private employment agents, trading hours, public holidays and child employment continues to apply to all businesses and employees in Queensland.

The employment of children (people under 18 years of age) in the entertainment industry is governed by the Child Employment Act 2006 and the Child Employment Regulation 2016.

These laws protect children from work that may be harmful to their health, safety, schooling and physical, mental, moral or social development.

To achieve these objectives the Act and Regulation:

  • set minimum ages for work
  • limit the hours of work of school-aged and young children
  • place obligations on employers who employ children.

Legal child employment definitions

The laws provide definitions of the following terms:

  • school-aged child
  • young child
  • baby
  • parent
  • family business
  • work
  • work in the entertainment industry.

Restrictions on children working

Work in the entertainment industry is excluded from some of the general restrictions applying to minimum age and hours. Where the entertainment industry has been exempted, separate provisions (including hours) have been created - for example, no minimum age applies to children working in entertainment, however greater supervisory conditions are required.

There are 2 sets of restricted hours for school-aged or young children working in the entertainment industry. These hours are categorised into permitted hours in:

  • recorded entertainment
  • live entertainment.

Permitted hours for work in live entertainment are more restricted than those in recorded entertainment.

The hours during which work may be performed for recorded and live entertainment, including the maximum working hours per day and the maximum number of working days in a week, are prescribed for a number of age groupings.

Child employment laws prohibit the employment of children in adult entertainment and related activities while they are fully or partially nude. The entertainment laws also prohibit the employment of children around others who are nude or semi-nude. Under certain circumstances children under 12 months may be exempt from these prohibitions.

Obligations for parents and employers of working children

Employer obligations have been developed to cater for the unique needs of the entertainment industry. For instance, obligations, including the provision of travel arrangements, accommodation, meals, and amenities continue to apply when employing children in the entertainment industry.

These employer obligations apply in addition to the obligations developed for all industries.

Parents are also required to play their part. The Act makes it illegal for an employer to employ a school-aged child until they have obtained a parent's consent form (PDF, 86KB). The form must be signed by the child's parent and include information for the employer about the hours when the child is required to be at school. A new form must be completed when those hours change. The parent's consent form must be kept by the employer.

Offences to child employment laws

The Child Employment Act 2006 and the Child Employment Regulation 2016 outline offences and penalties if employers do not comply with the law. The child employment laws are enforced by inspectors, who monitor compliance and investigate alleged contraventions.

More detail about enforcement, legal proceedings and appeals is available in the Child Employment Guide (PDF, 230KB).

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