A Victorian Red Rooster fast food chain is facing 355 charges for allegedly breaking child labour laws.
The ABC reported that Wage Inspectorate Victoria has found the business in Wodonga to have breached the Child Employment Act by employing ten children under the age of 15, on 168 occasions, without a relevant permit.
The criminal charges made against the Wodonga franchise are a failure to ensure supervision with a Working with Children Clearance, the children worked for more hours than they were permitted to work, and worked later than 9pm.
From 1 July 2023, there will be changes to Victoria’s child employment laws, which will replace the current permit system with a new licencing system.
Once a licence is issued, employers will be able to hire multiple children under one licence, rather than applying for a permit for each child.
A Cold Rock ice-cream chain in Shepparton is also facing 124 charges.
Wage Inspectorate Victoria commissioner, Robert Hortle, said the community will be disappointed to see “household names” like Red Rooster, Cold Rock and Muffin Break facing such allegations.
“These are the type of businesses where many kids get their first job, so people rightly expect them to have a strong focus on creating a safe workplace for kids, which is what child employment laws help ensure,” Hortle said.
A $20,000 fine will be given to each of the franchisees per breach of the law.
Photo: Red Rooster, Chadstone by Alpha available HERE and used under a Creative Commons licence. The image has not been modified.