What is the legal age I can start work full-time right now?

HomeBlogWhat is the legal age I can start work full-time right now?

As a teenager, you are so excited to gain independence and the opportunities are endless, whether it be buying and driving your own car, to working and earning your own money. So what is the legal age you can start working full-time? This Business Kitz article has all the answers.

The legal age you can start working full-time varies depending on the state or territory that you are employed in. The minimum age applies to all forms of work for all employees, including apprenticeships or traineeships. The age you can start working full-time also varies depending on the state or territory you work in. These ages and associated conditions are explained below.

Australian Capital Territory

There is no minimum age to start casual or part-time work in the Australian Capital Territory, however, if you are under 15, you can only do light work. 

Light work includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Running errands;
  • Casual work in and around a private home;
  • Sporting related work e.g. umpire or referee;
  • Clerical work;
  • Cashier work;
  • Gardening;
  • Babysitting; 
  • Modelling; or 
  • Performing arts e.g. film, television, theatre.

In the Australian Capital Territory, you can begin full-time work when you turn 17 or when you finish year 12, whichever happens first. Alternatively, you can submit an application to work full-time once you have completed year 10, given you have your parent’s consent to do so. 

New South Wales

There is no minimum age to start casual or part-time work in New South Wales, however, you have to be 14 years and 9 months to do door-to-door sales work. 

There are also additional laws which an employer must follow if you are under the age of 15. The employer must not require you to work:

  • During school hours;
  • More than one shift per day;
  • More than four hours on a school day;
  • More than five consecutive days;
  • After 9pm on the night before a school day;
  • Less than 12 hours since your last shift; and
  • For any combination of hours that results in school hours and work hours equalling more than 50 hours for a 7-day week

In New South Wales, you can begin full-time work when you turn 17, however, if you have finished year 10 you can apply for an exemption to leave school and work full-time instead. 

Northern Territory

There is no minimum age to start casual or part-time work in the Northern Territory, however, employers and parents must ensure working hours to not make it harder for you to learn at work, such as working late nights. 

There are additional laws in the Northern Territory about what hours you can work, which include the following:

  • An employer cannot allow you to work during school hours; and
  • If you are under 15, an employer cannot allow you to work between 10pm to 6am or do any dangerous or damaging work.

In the Northern Territory, you can legally begin full-time work when you have completed year 10 and are 15 years old. 

Queensland

In Queensland, the general minimum age to start work is 13. If you are 11 or older, you can do delivery work, such as delivering newspapers and advertising leaflets. If you are 11 or 12 years of age, you cannot do delivery work after 6pm and before 6am. There is no minimum age to start work in a family business or within the entertainment industry. If you are under the age of 16 and still currently enrolled in school, you must seek a parent’s consent to work.

In Queensland, you can begin full-time work when you have completed year 10 or turn 16 years old, whichever occurs first. You must either: 

  • Be in school;
  • In an approved education or training program; or 
  • Have full-time paid employment until you turn 17, complete year 12 or have completed two years of further education, employment or training, whichever happens first.

South Australia

There is no minimum age to start casual or part-time work in South Australia, however, it is illegal for an employer to employ you in any work that would interfere with your school work. 

In South Australia, the legal age to work full-time is when you:

  • Are 17 years old;
  • Are 16 years old and have a year 12 qualification from high school or a certificate II qualification from TAFE, apprenticeship, traineeship or university; or
  • You are 16 years old and your full-time work is an apprenticeship or traineeship that is part of an approved learning program.

Tasmania

In general, there is no minimum age to start casual or part-time work in Tasmania, however, there are some exceptions, which are detailed below:

  • It is illegal for someone under the age of 11 to work in a position which requires you to sell things in a public space (e.g. street markets); 
  • It is illegal for someone under the age of 14 to work in a position which requires you to sell things in a public space (e.g. street markets) between 9pm to 5am; and
  • It is illegal for someone under the age of 16 to work in a position which requires you to serve alcohol.

In Tasmania, you can begin full-time work after you complete year 10, however, you may work full-time during school holidays. You must participate in education or training until you complete year 12, turn 18 years old or obtain a certificate III, whichever happens first. Alternatively, you can apply for an exemption from education and training if you can prove you are employed full-time at 35 hours per week.

Victoria

In general, the minimum age for employment is 13 in Victoria, however, you must be at least 15 to work without a special permit. There are some exceptions to this:

  • There is no minimum age to start work in a family business or within the entertainment industry; and
  • If you are 11 or older, you can do delivery work, such as delivering newspapers and advertising leaflets or making deliveries for a registered pharmacist.

If you under the age of 15 it is illegal for an employer to break the following conditions:

  • The employer must have a Child Employment Permit, unless you are employed in a family business;
  • You can only do light work e.g. running errands, officework, gardening, delivering newspapers or being a shop assistant; and
  • You cannot work in door-to-door sales, on a construction site unless it is at lock-up stage or on a fishing boat unless it is in inland waters. 

In Victoria, you can begin full-time work when you complete year 10. If you are under 17 years of age, you must either:

  • Be in school;
  • Be in an approved education or training program; or 
  • Have full-time paid employment. 

Western Australia

There is no minimum age restriction when working in:

  • A family business;
  • A musical performance or other form of entertainment; or
  • The making of an advertisement. 

If you are between the ages of 10-12, you can be employed to deliver newspapers, pamphlets or advertising material, however, you must be accompanied by a parent or another adult with permission from your parents. 

If you are 13-14, you can complete the following work as long as you have a parent’s written permission:

  • Deliver newspapers, pamphlets or advertising material;
  • Work in a shop, retail outlet or restaurant; or 
  • Collect shopping trolleys for a shop. 

If you are 15 or over, you can work in other jobs, including in a shop, restaurant, trade or office.

In Western Australia, you can begin full-time work once you have completed the compulsory attendance at school or at the end of the year that you turn 17 years old. If you are in years 11 or 12, you can apply for an exemption and begin full-time work, given your application is approved by the Minister of Education.

Legal advice

If you require further assistance on the age you can either employ, or be employed full-time, our sister company Legal Kitz can help! They specialise in employment related matters, and offer a FREE 30-minute consultation to assist with any of your queries. Additionally, our subscription plan offers employers access to over 150+ legally compliant, employment, and HR related document templates to take the hassle out of the legalities of being an employer. Click here to find out more about our subscription plan.