Legal Working Age in Australia: Your Complete Guide to Hiring Young Workers Across Different States

The chance to start working and making your own money can be an exciting one, particularly for teenagers. However, one question always tends to appear: how old do I actually have to be to start working? In Australia, each state has their own restrictions and requirements surrounding the legal working age, including associated regulations for the amount of hours that adolescents can work. This Business Kitz blog will take you through each state’s regulations and restrictions so you can start job hunting!

Help wanted sign for legal working age people

What are the different regulations in each state?

Each state and territory has different regulations on the minimum working age. Below, we have outlined the age requirements and hour regulations for each jurisdiction.


Generally, the minimum age to work in QLD is 13, however, children from 11 years are permitted to work if it is with supervised delivery of newspapers or other forms of mail advertising materials from 6am – 6pm.

The state also has restrictions on the amount of hours children can work depending on their schooling. A school-aged child is permitted to only work 4 hours on a school day and a total of 12 hours during a school week. However, they can work a maximum of 8 hours on non-schooling days and a maximum of 38 hours during a non-school week (i.e. school holidays). School aged children are also not permitted to work between the hours of 10pm and 6am at any given time.

Children working in family businesses are exempt from these rulings, as well as those working in the entertainment industry, where separate restrictions are in place.

New South Wales

There are currently no restrictions on the minimum age to work in NSW, however employees must be 17 to work full time. Employers, parents and teens looking to start work should look at the Fair Work Ombudsman, SafeWork NSW and NSW Department of Education for further information on work age restrictions.


Similar to Queensland, the legal working age in Victoria is 13, with the exemption of 11 year olds being permitted to perform supervised deliveries. Employers are required to obtain a permit to hire someone under the age of 15. If an employer does not have a permit and hires someone under the age of 15, they are committing a crime and will be penalised. Persons supervising a worker under the age of 15 must also have a Working with Children Clearance.

During a school term in Victoria, a child is not permitted to work more than 3 hours a day or 12 hours a week. During school holidays, the maximum hours that a school-age teenager can work is 6 hours a day and 30 hours per week. Throughout the year, they are also only permitted to work from 6am – 9pm.

South Australia

Similar to NSW, there is no minimum legal working age in the state. Businesses are allowed to set their own age restrictions so the minimum age will differ between businesses – make sure you find out what a business’s minimum working age is before you apply! Children between the ages of 6 – 16 cannot be rostered to work during school hours, nor should they be rostered on on really early or late hours that could hinder their schooling.

Teenagers aged 15 and 16 can apply for permanent exemption from schooling for employment but it must be discussed with the school’s principal.

Western Australia

The legal working age in Western Australia is considered to be 15, however any persons aged 13 or above can be employed for newspaper or other advertising material delivery, retail outlet or store work, restaurant work, or collecting trolleys outside of school hours from 6am – 10pm.

Children working in volunteer roles, family businesses or entertainment are exempt from these rulings. There are multiple penalties for violating the above rulings or employing a person outside of the legal working age, which can be found in more detail here.

Northern Territory

Similar to Western Australia, the legal working age is 15, however, persons aged from 13 – 15 can work but with further regulations such as not working in hours that would make them unfit for schooling, such as during school hours, late at night or early in the morning before a school day. As with other states, full time work can only commence once the teen has completed year 10 and is at least 15 years old.


There is no minimum legal working age in Tasmania, however it is illegal for children under 11 to sell things in a public place, such as a market. It is against the law for a child in school to work during school hours, however they can apply for permission from the Department of Education to be exempted from school to work or go to school part time.

Legal Advice

Business Kitz offers fully customisable Full-Time, Part-Time and Casual Employment contract templates that will enable you to create a fully-comprehensive and age compliant employment agreements with professional guidance to assist you.

If you have any questions around the legal matters concerning the minimum legal working age in your state, please do not hesitate to contact our sister company, Legal Kitz to assist you. To arrange a FREE 30 minute consultation with one of their highly experienced solicitors. Additionally, you can also check out our Business Kitz Subscription to access our full range of legal, commercial and employment document templates to begin your business with a solid foundation that ensures compliance.  

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