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Child employment terms and definitions

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

Child employment laws and regulations use a set of common terms. Understanding their meaning will help make sense of the obligations surrounding the employment of children.

School-aged child

  • A school-aged child is a child who is under 16 years of age and required to be enrolled at a school. A child who is below the age of 16 is not a school-aged child if the child has completed compulsory schooling (i.e. completion of year 10) or is, for any other reason, not required to be enrolled at a school.

More information on when a child is required to be enrolled at a school is available in the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006.

Young child

  • A young child is a child who is not old enough to be enrolled for compulsory schooling. There are occasions where a young child is employed, for example, in the entertainment industry.

Work

  • The term 'work' has a broad application including work that is carried out for labour only or substantially for labour only and work performed under piecework rate arrangements as well as under a traditional employment arrangement. 'Work' does not include genuine independent subcontracting arrangements.
  • Participating or assisting in a business carried on for profit is included under this definition, even where the child does not receive payment or other reward. This definition also includes work performed as a supervisor.
  • 'Work' does not include domestic chores. Domestic chores have been deliberately excluded from the definition of work in recognition of the differences between true work and activities performed as a chore or a family obligation.
  • The Act does not regulate work carried out as part of:
    • work experience
    • vocational placements
    • apprenticeships
    • traineeships
    • charitable collections covered by other legislation.

Parent

  • A parent is the child's mother, father or another person who exercises parental control over the child. However, a person temporarily acting in the place of the parent is not considered to be a parent.
  • Where the child is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, a parent includes a person who is regarded as such under Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander custom.
  • Where a person has been granted guardianship under the Child Protection Act 1999 or where a person has been granted parental responsibility through a decision of a Federal or State court then that person is considered to be the only parent of the child. In these cases, no other person, including the child's biological parent, would be regarded as the child's parent under this Act.

Family business

  • A family business is a business wholly owned by a close adult relative of the child. Family businesses are exempt from the minimum age, maximum hours, prohibited hours and break requirements imposed under the Act.
  • Other requirements such as work prohibited under a regulation and employer obligations with respect to safeguarding children while at work, contact with parents and record keeping requirements apply to children working in a family business.
  • Parental consent requirements apply to family businesses except where the employer is the parent.

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