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Tips for young North Queensland job seekers this Christmas

North Queensland school and uni students entering the workforce for the first time this summer have been warned not to accept job offers that require they work unpaid to gain “work experience”.

North Queensland Regional Manager for the Office of Fair and Safe Work Queensland, Mr Paul Gwydir, said industrial laws set the standard in relation to fair workplace laws and they did not allow workers to be hired without being paid a minimum rate of pay and entitlements.

“Most employers in North Queensland do the right thing by their workers but a few don’t,” he said.

“The fact is that all employees, young and old, have rights and responsibilities that are cemented in law.

“Any offer to young people involving working a week or even less on an unpaid basis, either as a trial or to gain experience, should be treated with due caution.

“Young people are among the most exploited in the workforce. They are inexperienced and more likely to be taken in by a small minority of unscrupulous employers.

“The time-honoured and commonsense approach of most employers and employees – that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay, still stands true.

“Employees must be paid the minimum wage prescribed by the relevant award or agreement or the Queensland Minimum Wage.

“It matters not that the work is on a trial basis - if the work is not remunerated then the employer could be fined.”

Mr Gwydir also reminded North Queensland employers of their obligations under the Child Employment Act for the looming holiday trading period.

“During school holidays, children between 13 and 15 years of age inclusive can only be permitted to work up to 38 hours per week and up to 8 hours per day. Children aged 11 and 12 years of age may only be employed in supervised delivery work and only between 6am and 6pm,” he said.

The minimum age does not apply to work in a family business or in the entertainment industry where specific provisions apply.

The Office of Fair and Safe Work Queensland is part of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

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The Communication Services Branch handles media inquiries relating to:

  • the justice system, including courts and public prosecutions
  • community justice services, including: the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages; Justices of the Peace; Victim Assist Queensland; and the Dispute Resolution Branch
  • Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ)
  • the Electrical Safety Office (ESO), and
  • Industrial relations.

Call +61 7 3239 0782 or +61 7 3405 3762 to speak to a media officer, or email your inquiry to media.relations@justice.qld.gov.au.

Last reviewed
1 February 2010
Last updated
5 November 2015

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