A fast food chain has been fined $30,000 in the Industrial Magistrate’s Court for illegally employing 16 children at three of its Perth outlets.

Kentucky Fried Chicken was charged with 16 counts of unlawfully employing children under 15-years-old at its Ellenbrook, Forrestfield and Rockingham outlets.

The children worked 153 separate shifts that finished after 10pm.

A quarter of these shifts finished after midnight, including one where a 14-year-old finished about 1.15am.

More than 20 of the shifts were worked on a school night.

While fast food employers are allowed to hire children aged 13 to 15, they are not legally permitted to work before 6am or later than 10pm.

Department of Commerce Labour Relations director of compliance and education Joseph Lee said the penalty should serve as a warning to other employers.

“The children in employment laws seek to provide children with the benefits of participating in employment while balancing the other important aspects of their lives, including their education,” he said.

“Of particular concern in this matter was the lateness of the hour the children were working and that some of the shifts occurred on nights prior to ordinary school days.”

Kentucky Fried Chicken operates four outlets in WA. The remaining outlets are owned and operated by a separate company.

A Kentucky Fried Chicken spokesman said the company took full responsibility for its actions and accepted the penalties given by the court were appropriate.

“KFC employs more than 20,000 young people across Australia, which carries a huge responsibility, so we deeply regret the lapses in our systems that allowed these rostering breaches to occur in three Western Australian stores,” he said.

“We sincerely apologise to those employees and their parents who were affected in this case.”

The company has now changed its roster process and has organised re-training for the store managers involved.

The West Australian

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