TK Maxx pleads guilty to violating child employment law

Organisation reportedly ignored regulator's warnings against hiring kids under 15

TK Maxx pleads guilty to violating child employment law

TK Maxx has pleaded guilty to breaching Victoria's child employment laws after it hired two children under 15 without a permit at its Werribee store.

In a statement, Wage Inspectorate Victoria said the department store chain also pleaded guilty to the following breaches:

  • Failing to ensure a child was supervised by someone with a Working with Children Clearance on four occasions
  • Employing a child for more hours than they are permitted to work on three occasions
  • Employing a child later than 9pm on three occasions
  • Failing to provide children with a 30-minute rest break for every three hours worked on 11 occasions

The offences took place between September 28 and December 26, 2022, according to Wage Inspectorate Victoria.

TK Maxx was placed on an adjourned undertaking for 12 months with the condition that it would pay $5,000 to the court fund.

Honour Magistrate Thomas from the Melbourne Magistrates' Court considered the company's early guilty plea during sentencing. The court also noted that the company's offending was "inadvertent," and that it did not have previous convictions before this case. 

Neglecting regulator's warnings about child labor

TK Maxx was among several organisations placed under investigation by Wage Inspectorate Victoria when it carried out a compliance blitz in 2022.  Robert Hortle, commissioner of Wage Inspectorate Victoria, said they warned TK Maxx after they found that it was employing a child under 15 without a permit.

"TK Maxx received a clear warning from the Wage Inspectorate that kids under 15 cannot work without a permit yet ignored the regulator and went on to employ another child without a permit just a week later," Hortle said in a statement.

"It's behaviour that shows a disregard for child employment laws and for the wellbeing of its young employees."

According to the regulator, they also found the parental consent form signed by TK Maxx, where it agreed to ensure that children are working in line with child employment restrictions.

But TK Maxx's recent guilty plea shows they haven't been compliant with child employment restrictions.

"TK Maxx ignored the regulator's warning, broke a range of child employment laws, and didn't do what it said it would do in its parental consent form," Hortle said. "I consider this serious offending and the Wage Inspectorate won’t hesitate to take such matters to court."

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