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FEATURE ARTICLE 3: CHILD EMPLOYMENT
Who children worked for
Of the 175,100 children who had worked at some time during the 12 months to June 2006, 54% had worked for an employer, 33% had worked in a family business or farm and 16% had worked for themselves (children may have worked in more than one type of job). Overall, the proportions were similar for boys and girls, and for children aged 10-14 years. However, the profile for younger children (aged 5-9 years) was slightly different. Younger children were more likely to have worked in a family business or farm (56%) than for an employer (31%).
Why children worked
There are a number of reasons why children work, however, the most common reason given was to get 'money for spending'. This was the main reason for 59% of girls and 46% of boys. The next most common reason for working was to get 'money for saving'. This was the main reason for 29% of boys and 16% of girls who worked (graph 8.33).
Work and school balance
More than half (53%) of children who worked in the 12 months to June 2006 did so during both school holidays and school terms, while 31% worked only in school terms and 17% worked only in school holidays. The most common number of hours worked by children was between one and two hours per week in both school terms (45%) and school holidays (34%).
Younger children (those aged 5-9 years) tended to work relatively few hours. During school term, for instance, 47% of children aged 5-9 years who had worked usually did so for one to two hours per week, while 35% worked three to five hours. About a fifth (18%) of children aged 5-9 years worked for more than six or more hours per week during school terms (graph 8.34).
Older children were more likely to work longer hours, with 27% of children aged 10-14 years working six or more hours per week in school terms. However, working between one and two hours per week was by far the most common category (45%) for those aged 10-14 years, just as it was for children aged 5-9 years.
Children were more likely to work longer hours in school holidays than in school terms, with 43% of children aged 10-14 years usually working six or more hours per week in school holidays. For younger children (aged 5-9 years), the most common number of hours usually worked per week during school holidays was between one and two hours (35%), closely followed by six hours or more (33%) and three to five hours per week (32%) (graph 8.35).
Almost three-fifths (58%) of children who had worked did so for less than 13 weeks of the year to June 2006. Of the 146,000 children who worked during school terms, the most common times of day usually worked were between 3.00 pm and 5.00 pm on Monday to Fridays (40%) and between 9.00 am and noon on Saturdays and Sundays (34%). Of the 121,400 children who worked during school holidays, the most common times of day worked were between 9.00 am and noon (50%) and between 3.00 pm and 5.00 pm (48%).
Occupation of main job
The most common occupation for boys in their main job during school terms was Leaflet or newspaper deliverer (24%), while Farm, forestry and garden workers was the most common occupation for boys in their main job during school holidays (26%) (graph 8.36).
The most common occupation for girls in their main job during both school holidays and school terms was Sales workers (17% and 20% of girls who had worked respectively) (graph 8.37).
Travel to work
The most common way for children to travel to and from work was by private motor vehicle with parents (45% of boys and 57% of girls), followed by walking (25% of boys and 21% of girls). About a fifth of children (18% of boys and 21% of girls) worked from home or did not need to travel to and from work. In the age group 5-9 years, 81% travelled in a private motor vehicle with parents or did not need to travel to work.
1. Work includes activities undertaken for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job, business or on a farm, or work without pay in a family business or farm. Some examples of children's work include carrying out work for non-household members for payment (e.g. lawn mowing), busking or delivering leaflets. Chores undertaken for the child's household are excluded.