The Government has serious concerns about the practice of young children selling products door-to-door.
Productivity and Labour Relations Minister Yvonne Henderson said today there were considerable financial risks for the children, the adults who enlisted their help and the purchasers of their products.
Mrs Henderson's comments follow a tip-off from an employer that young children were selling sweets to businesses in Perth in the company of an adult.
"In this case, three children apparently under 12 years old were involved," she said.
"Children may be putting themselves into physical danger in this way.
"As well, these young people are travelling around entering many workplaces to sell products. If they are injured while on work premises, they may not be covered by workers' compensation because they are not really employees.
"Although the children may be rewarded for their efforts, it is very doubtful whether a proper employer/employee relationship exists and whether the children are even capable of entering such an agreement.
"In cases where these young salespeople are injured, it is possible that occupiers' liability claims could be made through the courts against the owners of business premises.
"Similar claims can be made against home owners."
Mrs Henderson said that anybody who purchased products from young children might also be supporting exploitative employment practices.
"Under-age workers in this area are extremely vulnerable and there are no wage rates prescribed for them," she said.
"Children are also unlikely to understand properly the complex but necessary rules and regulations covering work arrangements and trading activities.
"For example, there is a duty of care under which both employers and employees are legally obliged to maintain safe work practices.
"As well, many people may not realise that there are also strict trading controls on people who sell products door-to-door."
They are not allowed to sell outside the hours of 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays, 9 am and 8 pm on weekdays and a ban applies for Sundays and public holidays.
"If a single transaction exceeds $50, a cooling-off period of 10 days applies for the purchaser and must be recognised in writing by the vendor," Mrs Henderson said.
"Door-to-door selling is a risky, complex business and should not be carried out by young children."