Australian Retailers Association calls for consistency in minimum working age during labor crisis

This year, under the auspices of the Australian Retailers Association, 13-year-olds can sell Christmas gifts and serve coffee as part of a scheme to address major labor shortages.

Paul Zahra, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, criticized disparities in state and territory rules and called for unified legislation that would allow teenagers aged 13 to 15 to work with “reasonable” restrictions.

To prevent their education from suffering, this would involve refraining from working during school hours.

According to Mr. Zahra, it is possible to harmonize the frameworks relating to the hiring of teenagers for their first job in the retail trade.

There may be a need for teenagers as young as 13 to fill labor shortages in the retail industry.

However, there are limits on the types of jobs that can be done and the hours that can be worked in New South Wales.

The minimum age for part-time or casual employment in Victoria, south of the border, is 15, except in the entertainment sector or family businesses.

Children in Queensland can start part-time work at the age of 13, but if they are under 16 they must have parental consent.


Should teenagers as young as 13 be allowed to work?

  • Yes 3 votes
  • Nope 4 voices
  • Undecided 0 votes

The opportunity to provide clarity and consistency to students who wish to work a limited number of hours on weekends, holidays and at night without interfering with their education is provided by the national variance regarding the legal working age of students. .

Belinda Clarke, president of the Restaurant and Catering Industry Association, called a consistent strategy a win-win situation.

In order to address the labor shortage, she added, “we need to start looking at smart, realistic responses.”

“A uniform minimum working age across the country would not only help businesses solve the staffing challenge we are currently facing, but it would also help prepare young Australians for the future with essential skills and experience,” writes the author.

National consistency on the minimum working age, so more young workers willing and able to help fill labor shortages

However, Gerard Dwyer, secretary of the SDA retail workers’ union, expressed concerns about the proposal as it could reduce labor costs.

“There are safeguards in place in some states to ensure that minors are not scheduled to work late shifts – the motivation for these provisions is health and safety and does not negatively impact the education,” Dwyer said.

He believes the industry would be better off maximizing the use of existing staff, which would reduce costs for businesses.

Mr. Zahra filed a request for national consistency with the upcoming federal government jobs summit.

His submission also calls for the mobilization of older workers by doubling the amount retirees can earn before their payments are affected.

“It is essential that we do not squander this opportunity and commit to bold reforms that will accelerate Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery,” Mr Zahra said.

“Some items on the summit agenda should be quick wins.

“It has to be balanced with the development and training of our existing talent.

“While there is an urgent need to fill labor market gaps for frontline positions, we must also prioritize expanding the pool of skilled labor to manage the ongoing state of disruption. .”

MP Anika Wells told the Today program that working at 13 is “too young”.

“The key problem in this country is definitely in my patch,” Ms Well said of her constituency in Lilley, northeast of Brisbane.

“This is a complex problem that requires a thoughtful solution. We will have to pull all the levers.

Earlier this week Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told parliament the state was struggling to fill vacancies.

“Our economy now has more jobs than workers to fill them,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Tuesday.


There is an urgent need for more than 40,000 retail workers nationwide, some of whom could be provided by teenagers aged 13 to 15.

The retail sector has the most openings and the ARA estimates that more than 40,000 people are needed to fill the gaps.

Ahead of their peak seasons, the hospitality and retail sectors are also bemoaning labor shortages caused by a lack of migrant workers.

In order to recruit the hundreds of employees they need, Sydney Restaurant Group is offering a $5,000 signing incentive across all of its locations.

Owner Bill Drakopoulos told 9 News, “We’re looking for chefs and cooks, kitchen workers and waiters and sommeliers, bartenders, bartenders – the full range.”

A more plausible approach, according to Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, is to focus on the opposite end of the population rather than sending children out to work.

Many people have thought about the relationship between working into old age and how the pension system should work, and I’m sure others will come up with ideas, Marles said.

Andrew B. Reiter