Work and money - Young people
Young people have rights when it comes to work and money. They may be different to the rights held by adults.
This information will help you to understand your rights about work and money. Find out:
- when you can get a mobile phone
- when you can open a bank or credit union account
- when you can get social security payments
- what your rights about work are
- what your privacy rights are
- what if you have been discriminated against.
When can I get a mobile phone?
You have to be 18 to sign a mobile phone contract. Your parents may sign the contract for you. If they do they have to pay if you can't. You can get a pre-paid phone at any age.
For information and tips on buying mobile phones (including on choosing a mobile phone, and deciding on a pre-paid plan or a contract), go the MoneySmart website.
When can I open a bank or credit union account?
You can open a bank or credit union account at any age. Ask the bank or credit union what kind of ID they will need. You need more than one form of identification, such as your birth certificate and photo ID.
If you have a tax file number, you should tell the bank or credit union, or else any interest you earn may be taxed at a higher rate.
When can I get social security payments?
You may be eligible for payments such as Youth Allowance, JobSeeker Payments or ABSTUDY if you are a young person who is studying, undertaking training or an Australian Apprenticeship, looking for work, or sick.
Details about the different payments and eligibility can be found on the Services Australia website.
When can I work and what are my rights?
You can only work in some jobs, with restricted hours, before you turn 15 years of age. There are also rules about doing unpaid work (including unpaid trials, student placements, work experience and internships). More information is available from:
- Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (Labour Relations) - When children can work in Western Australia
- Fair Work Ombudsman - young workers and students. This website has information and details of free webinars to help you understand your rights and responsibilities under Australian workplace laws.
If you are being bullied at work, raise it with your contact or grievance officer, safety and health representative, human resources officer, or union representative (if you are in a union). There may be formal procedures you need to follow.
Some bullying at work, for example, assaults or threats to assault, may be a police matter. Some bullying behaviours may be unlawful.
What are my privacy rights online or at work?
Your rights are different depending on the situation.
If you have queries about your privacy rights in relation to social networking sites (such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat), your mobile phone, ID scanning at work, online banking, or in other areas, you may find the following information helpful:
- Office of the Australian Information Commissioner – Your privacy rights
- Fair Work Ombudsman - Workplace privacy. You can view a best practice guide for employers and managers that may help you understand your rights.
What if I think I have been discriminated against?
Discrimination can happen in two ways:
- Direct - where someone treats you less favourably than they would treat anyone else under the same or similar circumstances.
- Indirect - where a law, policy or practice seems to apply to everyone equally, but which actually affects a large number of people of a particular race, sex or other group because they cannot comply with it.
There are laws to protect employees and prospective employees from job-related discrimination.
Reviewed: 3 November 2022