Authority to employ children

Last update: 24 January 2023

The person responsible for casting and giving directions to the child is required to hold an Authority to employ children.

Authorities are valid for either one week, 3 months, 6 months or 12 months. 

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    Change to refund policy

    From 1 July 2021, refunds will not be issued for authority application fees. When applying, select the type and duration of your authority with care and make sure that your organisation does not already hold a valid certificate.

    Apply and pay for an Authority 

    Your authority application contains a legal declaration that must be signed by a Director or Trustee of your company (this is not applicable to sole-trader or student applicants).

    Once approved, you will be issued with an authority certificate by email. You will be given a new authority reference number each time you apply for an authority. This reference number will be valid only for that authority certificate.

    We will contact you if there are issues with payment processing or compliance.

    You are required to hold an authority if you are:

    • an organisation or individual who directs a child to perform tasks for payment or material benefit
    • an industry student who, as part of your studies, directs a child to perform tasks. This is required when directing children in paid or unpaid activities. Students are exempt from the fee.


    • you employ children under 15 years of age for work in exhibition or entertainment, still photography or door-to-door sales or
    • you employ children under 16 years of age for modelling work.

    Types of authority and activities that require one

    • Entertainment and exhibition
    • Still photography
    • Door-to-door sales
    • Student

    Employment activities that need an authority

    The types of activities include (but are not limited to):

    • film and video performance
    • television commercials
    • television series
    • recordings for digital media
    • live performances
    • theatre
    • still photography
    • performance activities including modelling, promotional work, performance art, public speaking and public performance
    • recordings for DVDs and the internet
    • radio performances
    • sound recordings and voiceovers
    • catwalk modelling
    • door-to-door sales.

    These preparatory activities are also included:

    • rehearsals
    • wardrobe fittings
    • sound recordings (both pre and post production)
    • publicity activities.

    The Office of the Children’s Guardian can also determine whether an activity is employment in situations where a child is not receiving payment or material benefit.

    Fees for Authority to employ children

    Fees include GST.

    An Authority for entertainment and exhibition authorises an employer to employ children for film, television, theatre, still photography, catwalk modelling and other live performances.

    Duration of authorityEntertainment and exhibitionStill photography and door-to-door salesStudents
    1 week$200$100no fee
    3 months$1,830$806no fee
    6 months$2,040$914no fee
    12 months$2,400$1,075no fee

    Exemptions and variations

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    You may be exempt from holding an employer’s authority in certain circumstances. Exempt employers need to apply to us and comply with the Code of Practice.

    You may be exempt from holding an employer’s Authority if you:

    • are a performer representative who is acting solely in this capacity
    • plan to employ a child for the purpose of a fundraising appeal (within the meaning of the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991)
    • plan to employ a child for an occasional entertainment or exhibition where the net proceeds are applied wholly for a charitable object
    • plan to employ a child who is more than 10 years old, and the employment is outside of school hours and is for no more than 10 hours per week
    • plan to employ a child who is a national of a foreign country, who is performing under the auspices of the government of that foreign country.

    Exempt employers still need to:

    To apply for an exemption, tick that you are applying for an exemption in the application for Authority to employ children. 

    Once approved, you will be issued with an exemption letter by email.


    If you are unable to comply with the Code of Practice, you can apply for a variation. In the application you will need to:

    • demonstrate you cannot reasonably work within the Code requirements
    • clearly explain the reason for the proposed variation to the child’s parent
    • obtain the child’s parent’s agreement that the proposed variation is appropriate for their child and if the Office of the Children’s Guardian is satisfied that the child’s welfare and wellbeing will not be compromised
    • provide evidence of the principal’s approval for the child’s planned absence, if the child is employed when they would normally be attending school

    If you wish to employ babies under 12 weeks of age you will need to apply for a variation. A nurse's report will also be required and submitted by email. 

    If your request is approved, you will receive a notice of variation by email that details the terms and conditions you need to follow.

    Apply for a variation (DOCX) and email the completed form to


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