Steps to employing children

Last update: 22 March 2023

Use the following as a checklist in the lead up to employing children and young people. Employment activities include things done to prepare for a performance such as costume fittings, a meet and greet, publicity and rehearsals.

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    Prior to employing, apply for an authority

    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.

    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).

    Steps for employing children

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    1 At least 7 days prior

    Complete the Online Notification Form at least 7 days before employment begins. This allows us to focus our attention on high risk productions and reduces the risk of delays from issues being identified at the last minute.

    The more complex your job, the more notice you should give.

    You don't have to have confirmed casting yet. Send your completed child details form (XLSX) no later than 48 hours before they do anything for you. If you have a mix of employed and volunteer children, all must be notified and work as required by the  Code of Practice.

    You need to tell us about the child's role and how you will make the work environment positive and safe before they start. At this stage, you are providing us with a broad of idea of what each child will be required to say, see, hear and do. 

    You are required to provide the following information now:

    • The first likely work day after casting. Work includes preparatory activities such as rehearsals and costume fittings
    • Approximate dates, times and location of the production
    • How many children and the age range you plan to cast
    • Each child’s approximate working hours and number of days
    • Story / mood boards, scripts etc - What they say, see, hear and do
    • The role requirements - How they say, see hear and do
    • The role risks including location risks, skilled action and stunts, animals, SFX, pyrotechnics, long days, night shoots, weapons etc
    • Adult oriented or inappropriate content or action and the plans to separate it from the children's roles
    • Risk management strategies 
    • Variations needed due to circumstances outside of your control
    • Your company information (is your authority to employ children current?)

    Email this information to as soon as you have it. If information changes please update us as soon as you know.

    We will assess your plans and will let you know if further information is needed before the child starts work.

    Production changes

    You may need to make changes to your production plans and/or schedule so that it complies with the Code of Practice.
    If your child employment plans change significantly, tell us immediately to avoid any delays to your schedule while the changes are assessed.


    Penalties for not providing 7 days notice

    If you don't provide us with 7 days notice you will have breached the law. We will determine the most appropriate enforcement action which could include:

    • issuing on the spot fines of $550 per child or
    • prosecuting you through the courts which could result in fines of up to $11,000 per child.

    If you are applying for your authority at the same time as providing your production information, and you haven't given us 7 days notice, the law requires that we not issue your authority. Any subsequent employment will attract a $5,500 fine per child for unauthorised employment.

    2 4 days prior
    • Develop your Code of Conduct if you don't have a suitable one. Every adult present must have a copy before a child starts work.
    • Make sure you have or are developing your own incident reporting register and forms from our sample templates
    • Have a sign in and out sheet or a method of accurately recording arrival, start and departure times for each child.
    • Check you have appropriate supervision for each child. 
    3 2 to 3 days prior
    • Organise principal permission (PDF) from school if filming during school hours with school-aged children.
    • Make sure private change facilities and bathrooms are appropriate and hygienic for the children who will use them.
    • Ensure that you have a parent nominee form organised if the parent is sending any other person in their place to supervise.
    • Ensure you know who is in child related work and confirm that their Working with Children Check has been checked on our website and is cleared to work with children.
    • Ensure any chaperone or supervisor employed by you has a cleared Working with Children Check as well as suitable training and experience for their role. 


    Email us:

    • a completed child details form with all children who will be working.
    • a variation application if you need variations to the Code of Practice.
    • any finalised safety reports and risk assessments.
    • the registered nurse details where you are employing children under 3 years of age.
    • any changes to what you have told us previously.


    Forms and templates can be found on our forms page for people employing children.

    4 The day before
    • Email us your call sheet.
    • Give a copy of your Code of Conduct to all adults on set.
    • Give a copy of the parent fact sheet (PDF) to all parents.
    • Ensure that any parent nominated supervisor has a signed parent nominee authorisation (PDF) to give to you.
    • Get blank copies of the code of conduct and the parent nominee form in case staff change overnight or parents cease supervising for a short time on set.
    • Ensure that principal permission for absence has been granted. You can collect this as the child arrives at the worksite.

    Ongoing during the production or shoot and afterwards

    • Keep us updated on any schedule, action or script changes.
    • Send the daily call sheets before the children start work.
    • Check-in with children and their parents regularly to make sure they are coping with their role.

    Record keeping

    Authorised employers are required to keep records for all children engaged to provide a service, for both paid and unpaid services.

    The record should include the nature of the work, the place of work and location, the reference number of the employer’s Authority and the name, address and both personal and business telephone numbers (if any) of the child’s supervisor.

    Records must be kept securely for a minimum of 6 years and be made available for inspection by an officer appointed by the Children’s Guardian.

    Incident register

    Employers need to maintain an incident register in a form approved by the Children’s Guardian. A template that you can download and use as the basis for your incident register is available on our forms and templates page.

    The register should record any:

    • accident involving a child
    • injury to a child
    • incident that is subject to a complaint, including any allegation of sexual abuse
    • action taken in relation to the above items.

    A record of the incident must be made and a copy of the record provided to us within 72 hours of the employer being made aware of the incident occurring.

    Records in the incident register must be kept securely for 6 years from the date on which the incident occurred.

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