26 September 2023

Child employment rules ready to change

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Wage Inspectorate Victoria is inviting the public to share its feedback on proposed changes to the State’s child employment regulations.

Launching its Child Employment Regulations 2004 – Consultation Paper, the Inspectorate said it was proposed to make several offences under the Child Employment Act 2003 punishable by an infringement notice.

“Infringements are an alternative means of dealing with low-level offences, enabling the offence to be dealt with by payment of a fine, rather than prosecution in court,” the Inspectorate said.

“Having offences dealt with under an infringement system has a number of advantages for both the regulator and employers who have contravened an infringeable provision.”

It said this included the avoidance of a conviction being recorded once an infringement was paid; certainty of the penalty amount needed to finalise a matter; lower maximum fine levels than may apply if the offence was prosecuted in court; and avoiding the costs and time of court proceedings.

“The introduction of infringement notices also provides an additional compliance and enforcement tool to the Wage Inspectorate for less serious breaches of the Act that may not warrant prosecution,” the Inspectorate said.

It said there were several factors being considered before determining which offences would be suitable for infringements, including the elements needed to be proven in relation to the offence; the severity of the conduct; the ability to ensure consistent application of the law; and any other potential impacts.

Wage Inspectorate Victoria said consultation was open until 7 July.

The Inspectorate’s consultation paper can be accessed at this PS News link.

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