Wage Inspectorate Victoria has filed multiple criminal charges against a Port Fairy bakery, alleging the business employed four children aged under 15 years old without a permit.
A spokesman said it would be alleged in the magistrates court the operators of Cobb's Bakery breached Victoria's child employment laws relating to permits, supervision and co-operating with investigators.
He said it was alleged that between December 2021 and February 2022, the operators of Cobb's Bakery contravened the Child Employment Act 2003 by:
The maximum penalty for each of the above offences is 100 penalty units ($18,174).
The spokesman said that if found guilty of all offences, the company faced a maximum fine of more than $160,000.
"The matter has been listed for mention in the Magistrates Court on January 13 next year," he said.
"The Wage Inspectorate will make no further comment while the matter is before the court."
A spokesman for Cobb's Bakery declined to comment.
In Victoria, employers typically need a permit before a child under 15 years can start work, and the child must be supervised by someone who holds a valid Victorian Working with Children Clearance.
The permit system enables the Wage Inspectorate to check that matters like safety, hours of work, rest breaks and supervision are properly considered before employment starts.
Permits are free, and employers can apply at wageinspectorate.vic.gov.au
The charges against Cobb's Bakery follow other recent enforcement action by the Wage Inspectorate:
In October, a Barwon Heads fish and chip shop was charged over 14 alleged breaches of child employment laws,
In September, a Yarrawonga chemist was charged over 11 alleged breaches of child employment laws,
In August, a digital learning company pleaded guilty to breaking child employment laws,
In June, a Bright cafe pleaded guilty to breaking child employment laws, and
In March, a proactive compliance campaign focussed on the employment of children in fast food outlets, restaurants and cafes in regional Victoria.
Wage Inspectorate Victoria is an independent statutory body established to promote and enforce Victorian laws covering wage theft, long service leave, child employment and contractors in transport and forestry.
For more information about Victoria's child employment laws is available at wageinspectorate.vic.gov.au or by calling the Helpline on 1800 287 287.
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