McDonalds Australia fined for child labour

In Food, Government, National Headlines, Western Australia

From News Ltd 23rd February 2014

McDonalds Australia Ltd fined for illegal work

MCDONALDS Australia Ltd was fined in court $15,000 this week after illegally employing a 14-year-old at its Rockingham outlet.

The Department of Commerce initiated the action against the company after learning it breached the Children and Community Service Act 2004.

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said McDonalds were charged for employing a 14-year-old child to work at illegal times, namely in five separate shifts of work that were completed after 10pm.

“During one shift, the child commenced work at 3.21pm on a Saturday afternoon and did not conclude her shift until after 6am the following day,” Mr Mischin said.

“Consequently, the child worked a shift nearly 15 hours in duration, which included the prohibited hours of 10pm to 6am.

“A further shift was not completed until after midnight on a night preceding an ordinary school day.

Mr Mischin said he was ‘appalled’ at the incident.

“Our employment laws seek to provide children with the benefits of participating in employment while balancing the remaining important aspects of their lives, including their education,” he said.

“I am appalled that an employer would, in this day and age, employ a 14-year-old child in an overnight shift of work from Saturday afternoon through until Sunday morning.

“Clearly this circumstance falls well outside what is reasonable and lawful.”

This is McDonalds’ fifth conviction for breaches of this law, with the previous four convictions occurring in 2007.

The previous convictions related to the unlawful employment of 42 children between July 2006 and February 2007 and resulted in fines totalling $88,000.

Under the Act, it is lawful for fast food industry employers to employ children aged 13 to 15, but they are not permitted to work before 6am or later than 10pm.

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