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Does your business need a Working with Children Check?

In order to make sure appropriate checks are in place, the State Government has made a Working With Children (WWC) Check a legal requirement for anyone carrying out paid or unpaid work with children. Here are some common questions to help define whether individuals in your business need this approval.

How do I know if my staff and I need a WWC Check?

Everyone in a job that undertakes child-related work needs a WWC check. Child-related work is any work where the usual duties involve, or are likely to involve, contact with any person under the age of 18 years in connection with one of the 18 categories.

Contact includes:

  • any form of physical contact
  • oral communication (eg. telephone)
  • electronic communication (eg. email or internet).

It does not include contact between fellow employees or between an employer and their employee. So you don’t need a WWC Check simply if you have employees under the age of 18 years or because you have adults working alongside children in your business. Exemptions can also apply to certain people.

Some examples of a child-related business that would require staff to have WWC Checks include:

  • dance, art, language or music classes for children
  • family day care
  • baby sitting or child-minding
  • tutoring for children

The Working with Children website lists all the categories of child-related work and the exemptions.

My business pivoted to deliver online services to children during the pandemic – does this count as child-related work?

Yes. Contact with children includes online (electronic) communication such as live-streaming classes.

How do I apply?

If you are self-employed, you’ll need to complete an application. Your completed form can then be lodged at an authorised Australia Post outlet.

If you employ staff, they will also need to complete an application form which you will need to sign as their employer.

A successful applicants will receive a WWC card, which is valid for three years. Renewals of WWC cards can be done online.

When a risk of harm has been identified, the applicant is issued with a negative notice, which prohibits the person from child-related work.

Why do I need to comply with the WWC legislation?

Failure to comply with the legislation is an offence with penalties of up to $60,000 and possible imprisonment.

If you are in a child-related business, under the legislation you have a number of responsibilities including:

  • ensuring that you and any staff who engage in child-related work have a current WWC card or have applied for one
  • that current card holders renew before their approval expires
  • that you keep adequate records to demonstrate your compliance.

Tip: When hiring new employees who have an existing WWC card, you should validate their card on the WWC website to ensure it is current and let the WWC screening unit know the card holder is now working for you.

More information

Visit the WWC Check website to find out more about your obligations as a child-related business. You can also access fact sheets to help you rate your level of compliance with WWC laws and find out more about upcoming workshops for child-related businesses.

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