Fast food, long hours

State Commerce minister Michael Mischin said the Department of Commerce initiated the action against the company after learning of the breach of the Children and Community Service Act 2004 (the Act), which included a 14-year-old employee working a 15-hour shift.

Mr Mischin said that the outlet had employed a child aged less than 15 years to work at times that were unlawful in five separate shifts of work, which were completed after 10pm.

Under the Children and Community Service Act 2004, it is lawful for fast food chains to employ children aged 13-15, however they are not permitted to work before 6am or later than 10pm.

‘During one shift, the child commenced work at 3.21pm on a Saturday afternoon and did not conclude her shift until after 6am the following day,’ Mr Mischin said.

‘Consequently, the child worked a shift nearly 15 hours in duration, which included the prohibited hours of 10pm to 6am.

‘A further shift was not completed until after midnight on a night preceding an ordinary school day.’

He said he was ‘appalled’ that such a young employee had been treated in such a manner and reiterated the importance of the employment laws protecting a balance between work and education in younger employees’ lives.

‘Our employment laws seek to provide children with the benefits of participating in employment while balancing the remaining important aspects of their lives, including their education.’