A Working with Children (WWC) Check is a legal requirement for anyone undertaking paid or unpaid child-related work.

Here are some common questions to help define whether individuals in your business need a WWC Check.

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

Anyone in a role that undertakes child-related work needs a WWC Check, unless an exemption applies. 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 More information about the categories and who needs a WWC Check is found on the WWC website.

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. 

Some examples that would require staff to have WWC Checks, unless an exemption applies, include:

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

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

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, whether they are paid or unpaid, they will also need to complete an application form which you will need to sign as their employer.

Successful applicants will receive a WWC card, which is valid for three years. Renewals of WWC cards can be done online or by completing a WWC Check application form.

When a risk of harm to children has been identified, the applicant/card holder 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 of up to five years.

If you are an employer or volunteer organisation engaging people in child-related work, under the legislation you have a number of responsibilities including:

  • ensuring that you, any staff and/or volunteers 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 or volunteers who have an existing WWC card, you should validate their card on the WWC website to ensure it is current and then  register the card holder online to let the WWC Screening Unit know they are 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.

Legal and risk
09 November 2023