Regulating for Australia's Youngest Workers
van der Waarden, N. (2013) Regulating for Australia's Youngest Workers. Children Australia, 38 (02). pp. 76-86.
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Child labour is a phrase associated with exploitation, poverty, insufficient education and various forms of physical abuse. These connotations do not match Australian perceptions about the employment of children and are not correlated with mainstream dialogue on teenagers in part time and casual employment. Child employment is an accepted part of Australian society, with older children making up a significant portion of the workforce. Minimum standards are increasingly regarded a critical safeguard for young Australians at work, evidenced by recent state level statutory amendment and enactment of dedicated legislation. This article makes two submissions; first, it suggests the regulation of young people's working conditions is inappropriately neglected at national level in Australia, and secondly, it proposes national standards should be set and equated with those in other developed economies, meeting international standards. The 1994 European Community Directive on the Protection of Young Workers is referred to as a suitable benchmark.
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