How old do you have to be?

There are different state and territory laws about how old you can be to do certain jobs.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory there is no minimum age to start paid work, but there are laws which mean that:

  • Students must be enrolled and attending school until they turn 17. The exception to this is if a student is over 15, has completed Year 10, and has an eligible option of full time employment, approved full time study or a combination of part time employment and study. This will then be monitored by the NT Department of Education until you turn 17.
  • You can undertake casual or part time employment in addition to schooling, however this cannot take place during school hours or at times that will interfere with the student’s ability to engage in education. For example, you cannot work after 10pm as it may affect your ability to concentrate at school the next day.


In the ACT there is no minimum age to start paid work, but there are laws which mean that:

  • If a young person is aged between 12 and not yet 15 they can work a maximum of 6 hours per day.
  • If a young person is under 15 their parents must consent to them working.
  • Someone under 15 can only work up to 10 hours a week; to work more than that the employer would need to get written approval from the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support.
  • Work for someone under 15 needs to be classified as ‘light work’ which can include working as a cashier, working in or around a private home or going on errands.
  • A person under 18 cannot work before 6.00am or sunrise (whichever is later), or after 10.00pm unless agreed to by the Director-General (the person who is in charge of implementing the employment provisions of the Children and Young People Act 2008).
  • Work is not allowed to get in the way of someone under 18 going to school or other education training.

More information can be found in the Education and Training Directorate’s guide Young People at Work in the ACT.

Western Australia

In Western Australia, no matter how old you are, you can work in:

  • a family business or
  • a drama or musical performance, or entertainment or advertising.

If you are 10, 11 or 12 years old, then you can work delivering newspapers, pamphlets or advertising material, but only if a parent goes with you, or if you have written permission from your parent for another adult to go with you.

If you are 13 or 14 years old then, as long as you have your parent’s written permission you can:

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

Once you’re 15 years old you can work in other jobs.


In New South Wales there is no minimum age to start working, but there are laws around the types of work you can do, and the hours that employers can require you to work.

If you are under 15, you can’t sell anything door-to-door or work in entertainment (eg stills photography, film, television, or advertising).

If you haven’t yet completed Year 10, you can’t work during school hours unless you have permission from the principal of your school or the NSW Department of Education and Training.

If you are under 15, your employer can’t require you to work:

  • during school hours
  • more than one shift a day
  • more than four hours on a day you have to go to school
  • more than five days in a row
  • after 9pm if you have to go to school the next day
  • if it is less than 12 hours since your last shift, or
  • for any hours that make the combination of your school hours and work hours in a seven-day week more than 50 hours.

There are additional rules about working hours if you are doing door-to-door sales, modelling, theatrical performances or entertainment work.  Click here for more information.

You can work full-time after you turn 17.


Working for your family

There are no minimum age requirements if you work for a family business or on a family farm, but you must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times.  Also, your work must not disrupt your schooling and you can only do light work.

Delivery work

In Victoria, if you are 11, you can do delivery work such as, delivering newspapers, delivering advertising or making deliveries for a pharmacist.

Light work

In Victoria, once you turn 13 you can do other kinds of work besides delivery work. However, the work must be light work.  Light work can be defined as:

  • Work that is not harmful to your health, safety, development or your moral and material welfare.
  • Work that does not disrupt your schooling.

Your employer must have child employment permit before they can offer you a job.

South Australia

In South Australia there is no minimum age to start paid work, but there are laws which mean that:

  • If you are under the age of 16, you cannot work during hours that you are required to be at school.
  • You can work full-time when you are 17.
  • You can work full-time when you are 16 and you have a year 12 qualification from a high school or a certificate 2 qualification from TAFE, apprenticeship, traineeship or university.
  • You can work full-time when you are 16 and your full time work is an apprenticeship or traineeship that is part of an approved learning program.


In Tasmania there is no minimum age to start paid work, but there are laws which mean that:

  • If you are under 11, you can’t sell anything in a public place or be at a public place with items that you intend to sell;
  • If you are under 14, you can’t sell anything between the hours of 9:00pm at night and 5:00am in the morning;
  • If you are under 16 you can’t work during school hours unless you have permission from the Secretary of Education (including up until the end of the school year in which you turn 16).


In Queensland the minimum age to start paid work is 13 years, but if you are aged between 11 and 13 years you can work under supervision if the work involves delivering newspapers or advertising material between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm.

However, if you work in a family business or in the entertainment industry there are no age restrictions.

If you are of school-age (under 16 years old) you will need your parents’ permission to work, and you’re not allowed to work during school hours unless you have special permission from the Chief Executive of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.