Working with Children Check – Employer Obligations
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Do you need to comply?
Yes, under the Working With Children Act 2005 (Vic).
Conditions of compliance
As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees and volunteers get a Working with Children (WWC) Check if required.
If you have to comply, what do you have to do?
Further to the Department of Justice checklist, as an employer you must:
- ensure that employees and volunteers engaged in child-related work hold or have applied for a WWC Check card. The Act defines which applicants can work with children whilst they are being screened and assessed and which applicants must not work.
- view the Assessment Notices (and cards, if available) or receipts of all new employees and volunteers, as appropriate, before they engage in child-related work and verify cards through ‘Check Status’ on the WWC Check website or by calling the information line on 1300 652 879
- remind cardholders to keep their contact details up to date and that they must inform the Department of Justice of their new work details within 21 days of commencing employment with the employer
- regularly check the validity of employees’ and volunteers’ cards to make sure no one has been given a Negative Notice or had their card revoked. A person who fails the WWC Check and is given a Negative Notice cannot undertake child-related work.
- keep a register of all staff and volunteers with a WWC Check and record expiry dates, card numbers, and card type (i.e. volunteer or employee)
- ensure paid staff have an ‘Employee’ card as it is an offence to use a ‘Volunteer’ card for paid child-related work
- ensure employee’s and volunteer’s WWC Check card is current. A WWC cardholder is not permitted to undertake child-related work after the person’s WWC Check expires. After the card’s expiry date, the employee or volunteer has three months to renew the card but cannot engage in child-related work until the Assessment Notice has been issued.
- develop processes to deal with an employee or volunteer who is given a Negative Notice, and make sure they do not perform child-related work, even if directly supervised.
As of the 26 October 2014, amendments to the Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic) commenced operation. For specific information about these amendments, please refer directly to the Working with Children website.
What are the consequences if you don’t comply?
The Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic) includes a number of offences. Employers should be aware of the penalties associated with these offences.
It is an offence to engage a person who is required to have an Assessment Notice and does not have one. As an agency, it is an offence to offer the services of a person who does not have an Assessment Notice when the person is required to have one.
If found guilty of either of these offences as a natural person, then you will be liable for level seven imprisonment (two years maximum) or a level seven fine (240 penalty units maximum more than $35,000), or both.
If found guilty of either of these offences as a body corporate, then the body corporate will be liable for a fine not exceeding 1200 penalty units more than $177,000.
Who will help you?
Independent Schools Victoria contact:
Director, Strategic Relations
Ph. 03 9825 7210
Links and Resources
Department of Justice: Working with Children website