A Guide to Employing Young Workers

If your business decides to hire a young employee, there are many factors to consider as young workers are a vulnerable section of the workforce. However, if treated correctly, they can become loyal and valuable employees. The minimum age of employment will change depending on the state or territory.

Still unsure of your obligations and as an employer when employing a young worker? LawPath can connect you with an experienced employment lawyer.

Working at Best Practice

The a href=https://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/best-practice-guides/an-employers-guide-to-employing-young-workers#Apprenticeships>Fair Work Ombudsman suggests that when hiring a young worker, an employer should adopt a best practice guide. If followed, it will be beneficial to both parties. Some of the main areas that employers should focus on when managing young employees include:

  • What an employer should tell a young worker early in the employment relationship;
  • Health and safety issues;
  • The options for apprenticeships and training; and
  • Performance management of young workers.

If successfully managed, not only will you be shaping their attitude to work and their futures employers will improve their chances in recruiting and retaining quality employees.

Provide Valuable Information

Young workers are considered a vulnerable class of employees, as they are often entering the workforce for the first time. Providing relevant and accurate information to your employees is vital. This will ensure the employee understands the nature of the employment relationship and their rights. For example, explaining the basic entitlements to annual leave, personal leave and how wages are paid.

LawPath provides a number of employment documents accessible online.

Workplace Health and Safety

Young workers have a greater risk of injury in the workforce as they have little experience. Employers must ensure that young workers know why safety is paramount and be properly trained and know what to do to prevent incidents in the workplace. Unfortunately, young workers are more vulnerable to workplace bullying. SafeWork NSW provides a detailed listing of employer obligations.
As an employer, you should make efforts to ensure that there is no bullying culture within your workplace and have procedures in place to deal with potential bullying complaints.

Apprenticeships and Workplace Training

Apprenticeship schemes are beneficial to employers and employees. Establishing a formal apprenticeship program is an effective way to recruit and train employees. However, being aware of the regulatory requirements in operating an apprenticeship program are necessary for employers’ to understand.

Workplace training is an important tool business can use to improve their business and motivate employees. Training programs often make your business more attractive to potential workers. There are some ways you can train and support your workers; some examples include formal training and demonstrations.

Mentoring and Buddy Programs

Implementing a mentoring or a buddy programs can prove advantageous for both parties. A mentor will encourage and assist the young worker in a professional manner. A mentor will touch base with the young worker to ensure the worker is coping in the workplace, and act as an approachable contact in the business to raise queries and concerns.

Similar but slightly different, a buddy program matches a colleague or peer of the young worker to develop a friendly working relationship with the young worker. This program allows the young worker to raise questions and concerns without feeling concerned about what their superiors think about them. These programs work best when used together.

Managing Performance

Providing young employees with clear communication regarding what levels of performance are expected from them is important, as often young employees may not understand what is expected of them. Valuable advice is can be obtained by the FairWork Ombudsman


Employing a young worker can be rewarding for any business if implemented correctly. However, it is important for employers to consider the above points if they are hiring or have recently hired a young worker. Still, want more information regarding one of your young workers? LawPath can connect you with an experienced employment lawyer.

Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from our network of 700+ expert lawyers or to get answers to your legal questions.

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