In most states of Australia, however, it is perfectly legal to start working at 13, and some states have no restriction on starting age, depending on certain conditions.
Check the table below for the minimum legal working age in your state, and click the link for further information on laws and restrictions regarding age and hours worked in your state.
|State||Minimum age for starting part-time work|
|WA||Parental/adult supervision required at 10, 11 and 12; written permission required at 13 and 14.
Types of jobs for a 13-year-old
Regardless of the laws in your state, many employers will have their own rules about employment age. For example, McDonalds won’t employ anyone under the age of 14 in NSW, NT, SA and Tasmania, or 15 in Victoria. KFC will only employ teenagers who are at least 14, or 15 years old in Victoria.
But there are lots of other jobs that younger teens and tweens can do. Not everyone has a family business they can start working in while young, so we have put together some ideas on where a 13-year-old (or tween) can find some part-time work.
- Doing errands
- Casual work in and around a private home
- Work related to sporting activities such as being an umpire, referee or tennis court attendant
- Clerical work – such as filing and photocopying
- Helping out at extra-curricular activities such as music or drama schools and sporting clubs
- Work as a cashier
- Performing arts (including film, television, theatre)
- Delivering newspapers and pamphlets
- Assist at Out of School Hours (OOSH) care centres for primary schools
- Making deliveries for a registered pharmacist
- Working as a shop assistant
- Dog walking
- Car washing
- Collecting aluminium cans for recycling and cash (do an online search for scrap metal dealers in your area; SA and NT both have a container deposit schemes)
- Pet sitter
- Computer and/or website maintenance (for the technically minded)
How to find jobs for a 13-year-old
Most of the larger employers with websites have a section for job-searchers. But if your child is under the minimum age for those employers, they might need to work a little harder to find a job. Here are some suggestions.
- Put the call out to family friends
- Advertise your services on the noticeboard at your local supermarket*
- Visit local stores
- Advertise on Gumtree*
- Ask teachers at school for work such as babysitting, gardening, lawn mowing, car washing etc
- Ask the teachers/leaders of after-school activity groups and OOSH care centres
* Parents: make sure you approve the ad and attend any meeting with your child.
This article was researched by intern Brenda Fry. Find out more about The Kids Are All Right internship program.
Some of the above information has been drawn from the following websites:
Lawstuff – information about the legal age for beginning work.
Legal Aid Victoria – suggested light work for young people.
Other articles in our job series for teenagers