Why Australia needs nationally consistent laws and better protections for young workers

Did you know there is no national minimum working age in Australia?

On top of this, there are some states – including South Australia – that don’t have any minimum working age requirements or child labour standards.

Young workers are some of the most vulnerable people in the workplace. That’s why the SDA is fighting to change this and campaigning for clear, consistent and better child labour laws across the country.

It’s not right that people as young as 13 can be employed to work at nearly any time of the day or night and that there are no clear regulations to keep them safe. 

The inconsistency and lack of framework outlining young workers’ rights across each state is leaving workers vulnerable and at risk of mistreatment including sexual harassment and assault. 

Nearly half of 15 to 17 year old workers have experienced sexual harassment at work, compared to 33% of adult workers.

They are disproportionately vulnerable to sexual, physical and mental abuse at work and stronger framework and workplace protections will help to prevent this.

Working with Children Checks must be introduced in retail and fast food

The SDA is calling for Working with Children Checks to become mandatory in retail and fast food to ensure these laws are complied with. 

This would mean that any adults working with or supervising workers under the age of 18 will need to undergo the appropriate screening requirements, removing this risk from the workplace. 


How the SDA is fighting for young workers in 2024
We’re calling for: 

  • Consistent child labour laws 
  • Increases to junior rates of pay 
  • Superannuation for workers under 18 
  • Stronger protections against assault and predatory behaviour