Wage Inspectorate helping businesses comply with workplace laws in Victoria

  • March 20th, 2024 at 2:16 pm

Wage Inspectorate Victoria promotes and enforces Victoria’s long service leave, child employment and owner driver laws.

Last financial year we helped 15,000 Victorian businesses and workers, with another 425,000 people accessing our educational tools and website resources, a 49 per cent increase on the previous year.

Long service leave

In the last financial year alone, we received over 6,000 calls about long service leave.

Most Victorian workers qualify for long service leave if they have worked continuously with one employer for at least 7 years. This applies to work that is full time, part time, casual, fixed term and even seasonal.

We often hear from businesses who have been caught off guard by their long service leave obligations – some don’t realise casual and fixed term staff can qualify, some buy a business without realising they’ve become responsible for existing long service leave obligations, and others are just too busy with the day-to-day operations of their businesses that the 7 years sneaks up on them.

But if an employee leaves after 7 years and before the long service leave is taken, the employer must pay out the entitlement, which can exceed $10,000, so it pays to learn the law so you can plan ahead.

Child employment

Victoria’s laws protect children from work that could harm their health or wellbeing.

Provided the employer has a child employment licence, a child can deliver newspapers and advertising material from 11 and do other types of work from 13, such as retail or hospitality.

Licenses are free and enable a business to employ multiple children under one licence.

All workplaces have risks, and these increase with young workers who are often entering the workforce for the first time. Licence holders must consider and manage the risks to children from the work they will be undertaking, and comply with other requirements around:

Employing kids under 15 can be win-win, with businesses getting enthusiastic staff, and kids getting valuable experience and earning spending money. But it needs to be done safely and legally or businesses may be subject to fines of more than $200,000.

Owner driver and forestry contractor laws

The Wage Inspectorate also regulates Victoria’s owner driver and forestry contractor laws.

Under the laws, businesses engaging owner drivers or forestry contractors for a total of 30 days or more, or 30 days within a 3-month period, must provide them with:

  • the prescribed information booklet
  • the prescribed rates and costs schedule for their type of vehicle or equipment
  • a written contract that includes minimum hours of work or income level, rates to be paid, and minimum notice to end the contract or payment in lieu.

Contact us

We’re here to help businesses understand the laws we enforce. Our website has resources to help you understand these laws, including animations, translations, e-learning modules, and answers to common questions. Or you can call our Helpline on 1800 287 287.