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Quick guide to employing children

Before you start – are you employing a child?

What does employment mean?

You are employing a child if all three of these things is true:

  1. The child is performing in the entertainment, exhibition, still photography or modelling sectors.
  2. You are giving the child, or someone else, a payment or material benefit (goods and services in lieu of payment) at any point in time for the child’s services.
  3. You have some level of responsibility for casting a child in a role and for the directions given to that child to perform activities.

Students

Tertiary students who direct children to perform in entertainment or still photography as part of their studies are deemed to be employing children, even if the children are not being paid.

Who is a child?

A child is a performer who is under 15 years of age or a model who is under 16 years of age.

What must I do when employing children?

The steps to follow

Step 1: Tell us your plans at least 7 days before children are employed

  • You don't need to have cast the children yet.
  • You must tell us your plans and proposed risk management strategies now.
  • The more complex your job, the more notice you should give.

Submit your 7 days minimum notice online.

What information do I need to give for 7 days notice?

  • The first likely work day after casting.
  • The child’s approximate working hours and number of days
  • How many children and the age range you plan to cast.
  • The role requirements - what will children say, see, hear and do
  • The role risks including location risks, skilled action and stunts, animals, SFX, pyrotechnics, long days, night shoots, weapons etc.
  • Adult oriented or inappropriate content or action and the plans to separate it from the children's role.
  • Risk management strategies you are planning
  • Variations needed due to circumstances outside of your control. 

Step 2: Apply for an authority and prepare records 3 to 4 days before employment

Step 3: Organise a registered nurse if you employ children under three years of age.

Employing babies under 12 weeks of age requires specific permission.

Step 4: Organise your supervisors, nurses or chaperones, verify employee Working With Children Checks

You are required to ensure each child has appropriate supervision.

Is the parent supervising?

  • The supervisor must be able to see the child at all times.
  • The best person to supervise a child is their own parent.
  • If a child's parent asks anyone to supervise at any time (e.g. grandmother or a nanny), they must give that person permission in writing before they can supervise.
  • You can receive written parent permission via a text message or e-mail or use the Parent Nominee Authorisation form.
  • A parent-nominated supervisor does not need a Working With Children Check.

Are you employing or providing a supervisor, tutor, chaperone or a nurse?

Step 5: Provide any updated or outstanding information 2 to 3 days before employment

  • Major changes in risks to the children notified late may require additional information and may delay your plans.
  • Where one child is employed, all children working must be notified and have the same working conditions as outlined in the Code of Practice.
  • Make sure that principal permission (PDF 169KB) is being organised if filming during school hours with school-aged children.
  • Make sure private change facilities and bathrooms are appropriate and hygienic for the children who will use them.

Email us:

Step 6: The day before children start work

Ongoing

  • Keep us updated on any schedule, action or script changes.
  • Send the daily call sheets before the children start work.
  • Check-in with children and their parents regularly to make sure they are coping with their role.