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When can I start work?

You can start full time work at the age of 17, unless it is part of an approved learning program (such as an apprenticeship), and unless you are 16 and have completed an approved learning program.

You can work before reaching this age provided you do not work during school hours and the work does not interfere with your ability to attend school [Education and Children's Services Act 2019 (SA) s 74(1)].

Are there any jobs I cannot do under 18?

Yes, there are. If you are under 18, you are not allowed to work in particularly dangerous jobs. For example, you cannot work under ground in any mine and you cannot work in a job handling petrol or gas [Mines and Works Inspection Act 1920 (SA) s 17].

You cannot work serving liquor unless:

  • your parent is the manager or licensee of the premises; AND
  • you are at least 16 years of age; AND
  • you have the required approval to do so.

Otherwise you have to be 18 to sell alcohol [Liquor Licensing Act 1997 (SA) ss 107(1),107(2)].

If you are working on a farm, whether it is paid or unpaid work it is a good idea to get a copy of the guide ‘Keep Kids Safe on the Farm’. See also information from SafeWork SA.

All laws that apply to adult workers, such as work health and safety laws, apply equally to those under 18. As an employee you have the right to be safe at work.

When do I pay income tax?

Income tax is not related to your age but how much you earn. If you have any queries about taxation contact the Australian Taxation Office on 132 861.

For more information about young workers contact the Young Worker's Legal Service: (08) 8279 2233

Working  :  Last Revised: Tue Jul 7th 2020
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.