Flyer distributor accused of over 2,400 child employment breaches

Company says it 'worked cooperatively with regulator' in obtaining necessary permits

Flyer distributor accused of over 2,400 child employment breaches

Catalogue distribution firm Ive Distributions is facing more than 2,400 criminal charges after it allegedly breached Victoria's child employment laws.

Wage Inspectorate Victoria is accusing the company of breaching the Child Employment Act 2003 on 2,425 occasions by employing children under the age of 15 without permits.

According to the watchdog's allegations, the distributor hired over 400 children under 15 to deliver catalogues and flyers to homes in Victoria between July and September 2022.

"The Wage Inspectorate will make no further comment while the matter is before the court," the watchdog said in a media release.

The matter is scheduled to be heard in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on October 2.

Ive 'disappointed' over allegations

Geoff Selig, executive chairman of Ive Group, said it "worked cooperatively with the regulator" in obtaining necessary permits for child employment.

"To this end, IVE Distribution was granted a General Child Employment Licence for use in Victoria on August 22," Selig told news.com.au.

"A small percentage of our walkers have always been children under the age of 15. Across the country, IVE obtains parental consent (and other appropriate checks) for all children under the age of 15, prior to their commencement."

In a statement to The Guardian, Ive Distribution said the child employment licence was for the continuation of its 44-year-long walker distribution programme, which aims to teach kids valuable life skills while they are paid to deliver flyers and catalogues across neighbourhoods.

"Given the inspectorate's apparent support for the programme, where kids only make deliveries following parental consent and often walk together as a family, we are disappointed the inspectorate is pursuing IVE for allegedly not obtaining the required permits before they issued our licence," the company told The Guardian.

Ive Distributor says it has Australia's largest distribution network, capable of reaching 17 million customers a week.

Victoria's child employment laws

The firm is now at risk of getting fined of up to $18,429 per offence under Victoria's child employment law.

Under the legislation, children from the age of 11 can only deliver newspapers and advertising material once their employer secures a child employment permit or licence.

The licensing system, which took effect in July, aims to protect kids under 15 from work that could harm their wellbeing. It also aims to ensure that employers understand workplace risks and they have a measure in place to keep children away from harm.

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