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Information for student employers

Student employers

Any tertiary student enrolled in an industry course and directing children to perform tasks requires an authority and needs to comply with the children’s employment regulation.
Industry courses include:

  • film, television or radio
  • live performance
  • still photography

This is required when directing children in paid or unpaid activities. Students are exempt from fees payable for the authority.

Steps for involving children in student productions

1. Apply for an authority

Your start date should cover the first day that children are involved in the production, including these preparatory activities:

  • rehearsals
  • wardrobe fittings
  • sound recordings (both pre and post production)
  • publicity activities.

Your end date should cover the last day that children are involved in the production, including these activities:

  • sound recordings and voice overs
  • other post-production activities

Find out more about applying for an authority.

2. Develop a code of conduct

  • Develop a code of conduct  outlining the minimum expected behaviours between adults and children on your production
  • Provide copies to employees or crew members and parents of children

The code of conduct should be provided to each employee or crew member, including self-employed persons, contractors, sub-contractors and volunteers. You should also give one to the child’s parent so they can explain it to their child. You must do this before the child or their parent is employed or has any contact with other child employees.

A code of conduct is your commitment to creating a child safe environment.

Download a code of conduct template to help you get started. (DOCX 105KB)

3. Send a pre-employment notification

Complete a pre-employment notification form

Provide details of any risks that you have identified for children (associated with the work location, the child’s role or schedule) and your proposed strategies for minimising these risks.

Email your completed form and supporting information to kids@kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au.

You will need to let us know at least seven days before the employment starts, how the child will be employed.

We may ask for more information such as:

  • a script, storyboard, mood board or layout
  • proposed employment schedule for the child
  • safety reports or risk assessments that are relevant to your production.

4. Comply with the Code of Practice

You are required to comply with the Code of Practice under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) (Child Employment) Regulation 2015. (PDF 222.8KB)

Also, you need to provide a copy of the Code of Practice or the parents information sheet  parents information sheet   (PDF 70KB)to a parent of each child you employ.

Tips for complying with the Code of Practice

Hours of work

Children can work only within a restricted number of hours per day, during certain times of the day and for a limited number of days per week. Hours of work vary according to the age of the child and the type of work.

Find out more about hours of work for children.

Supervision

You need to provide appropriate supervision of children during their employment. A child must be in view of their supervisor at all times. A supervisor can be:

  • the child’s parent
  • an adult nominated by the parent in writing (such as a grandparent, uncle, aunt or family friend).

If a parent or parent nominee is not available, the employer can hire a supervisor or chaperone to act as the child’s supervisor. Employed supervisors and chaperones must have a Working With Children Check.

Find out more about supervision.

Risk management

Risks to children employed in entertainment, still photography and live performance are varied and depend on the age of the child, their skill level, the location and the type of activity. Keep in mind that while some activities and roles may not present a risk for adults, they may be a risk for children. 

Risks for children include:

  • situations or locations that may cause distress e.g. fear of heights, animals, dark, loud noises, violence
  • scenes or content that are adult in nature or that require a mature understanding
  • location risks in which children may get hurt if not properly supervised e.g. beach, forest, farm
  • stunts and special effects.

Risks are often increased for very young children and babies.

A safety report or risk assessment can help you to assess the risks for your production. A few practical risk management strategies can reduce the level of risk for children.

Facilities

You will need to provide shelter and comfortable rest facilities for children, particularly when working in outdoor locations. Additional facilities will need to be provided in the case of rain, extreme cold or heat and wind. Toilets must be clean, close to the employment location and accessible for children and supervisors. Children should always dress and undress in a private area that is not shared with other adults.

Employing children under three

If you employ a child who is under three years of age you are required to have a registered nurse or registered midwife present during the employment. You must follow the advice of the registered nurse or registered midwife in all matters that that relate to the welfare of the child.

Special permission is required before you can employ a baby under 12 weeks of age as the Authority does not cover this age group.

Have a registered nurse or registered midwife assess the baby for employment. Special permission will only be given to the employer once we have received the registered nurse’s or registered midwife's assessment and are satisfied that the baby under 12 weeks of age is suitable for employment.

Find out more about employing children under three.

Record keeping

Authorised employers are required to keep records for all children engaged to provide a service, for both paid and unpaid services. Records must be kept securely for a minimum of six (6) years and be made available for inspection by an officer appointed by the Children’s Guardian.

Employers need to maintain an incident register in a form approved by the Children’s Guardian. We have created a template that you can download and use as the basis for your incident register.

Find out more about record keeping.

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