Young workers are a valuable part of the workforce. They’re eager to learn, gain experience, and often just need that first break to get started. Employers have a vital role in helping to shape the work force of the future. This article will provide employers with quick tips to keep in mind when employing young workers so as to get the best from their sprightly employees.

Who can I employ?

Be mindful of the age restrictions in your State and Territory. There are also restrictions as to the type of work you can get young people to do and when they are required to work. For example, in NSW there is no set age as to when workers can start work, however Queensland requires its employees to be 15 before starting work.

What do I need to tell them?

Young people are vulnerable and often don’t know that certain laws apply to them and that they have rights in the workplace. To ensure compliance with your legal responsibilities as an employer, it is a good idea to explain things to your employees so that they have a clear understanding of what is required of you and them.

They need to know what work you expect them to do and the expectations you have regarding their performance and learning. It’s important to be patient and considerate when explaining how to do things, as they will need encouragement and praise to help improve their understanding. An employee handbook is then helpful in outlining their responsibilities and your expectations. It also allows them to refer back to anything if they forget or are unsure.

You also need to inform your employees of their entitlements to annual and sick leave, wages, employment policies on dismissal and resignation, and what they should do if they are unable to work. You will also need to provide a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement.

Young people may not be particularly well versed in occupational health and safety rules. As a consequence, they have a higher chance of injuring themselves due to a lack of experience and knowledge. It is critical that you take the time to teach your employees about workplace safety and what to do to prevent injury to themselves and others.

To encourage and promote a healthy and fun culture in your workplace, you should teach your employees about inappropriate behaviours including bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Training and mentoring

Implementing an appropriate training and mentoring system is one of the best things an employer can do to help a young person get started on the right foot. You can impart your knowledge, experience and wisdom to the young person so they know how you want things done in your business. Employees will benefit greatly from formal training including taking courses, training days and learning resources as well as on the job training such as demonstrations and observations.

Creating a mentoring system requires invested people in your business who are committed to making such a program successful. Young people will feel that they have someone to look after them and help with any issues that arise. They will feel that going to this person isn’t as intimidating as going to the boss might be.


If you have any questions about dealing with young employees, or would like some more tips, get in touch with LegalVision today and speak to one of our specialist employment lawyers.

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