Find out about Core Worker Exemptions and how to apply
The Children's Act 2014 introduced a workforce restriction. The restriction means it is unlawful to employ a core children’s worker with an offence outlined in schedule 2 of the Act, unless they hold a core worker exemption.
People subject to the workforce restriction can apply for a core worker exemption. If an exemption is granted, it will no longer be against the law to employ that person as a core children’s worker.
An exemption is not role specific. Subject to conditions, a holder can legally be employed in any core children’s workforce role. An exemption doesn’t create the right to a job. It’s still up to the employer to decide whether or not the exemption holder is suitable for the role they’re applying for.
The process is run by Te Kāhui Kāhu on behalf of the agencies listed below:
Child safety will always come first, and the process is a robust and fair consideration of individual circumstances.
Core children’s workers are employed by the state sector or local authorities (including organisations they fund) . They provide regulated services, and work alone with, or have primary responsibility over children. See schedule 1 of the Act for more on regulated services:
You'll need a core worker exemption if you are, or wish to be a core worker and you've been convicted of an offence outlined below:
The legislation does not apply to volunteers.
Once a core worker application is received, someone will contact you to discuss the next steps.
This includes gathering information from other agencies. A panel of representatives will then meet to discuss your application.
The panel consists of a member from each of the following government agencies and is facilitated by Te Kāhui Kāhu:
The panel will consider your application and make a recommendation to the decision maker.
The panel will consider a number of factors including:
Panel members will also consider and discuss factors such as :
The panel may ask that you provide additional information to help them make their recommendation.
An overview of the core worker exemption process can be found here:
The final decision sits with the Chief Executive of the most appropriate government agency, depending on the sector you want to work in. For Example, If you wish to work as a teacher, your application will be considered by the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Education.
The following information will be considered, before coming to a decision:
The decision-maker will only grant an exemption if they are satisfied that you would not pose an undue risk to the safety of children, if employed or engaged as a core worker.
You’ll be informed of any adverse findings or decisions and be given the opportunity to respond.
You can apply for a core worker exemption at any time. It could be during training to work in the children’s workforce, before you seek employment or during a recruitment process.
To apply, complete and submit the application form and any supporting documentation.
Use this form if you work, or are seeking to work, in a core worker role and need an exemption.
You'll need to make a request to the registrar of the court in which you were sentenced. If that court has closed, send your request to the nearest court to the one that is now closed.
You can find the postal and email addresses for courts at:
If you undertook psychological treatment and rehabilitation during your sentence.
You will be able to request a copy of the information held, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If granted, a core worker exemption will last indefinitely, unless it’s revoked. An exemption can be revoked when decision-makers:
Applicants have a statutory right of appeal to the High Court of New Zealand if a core worker exemption has been declined or revoked.
If you have any questions or you would like some support to complete your application, you can contact us on one of the following:
Call 0800 462 511
Core Worker Exemption Advisor
Ministry of Social Development
PO BOX 1556
It is an offence under the Children's Act 2014 to employ someone subject to the workforce restriction, unless they have an exemption. Non-compliance of this may lead to criminal prosecution.
Employers are not obligated to employ someone who has been granted a core worker exemption. It is still up to each employer to determine if an individual is suitable for any role that they may seek.
You will need to verify that a current or prospective employee holds a core worker exemption.
We don't provide exemption holders with certificates. You will need to confirm that an individual holds a core worker exemption as part of your safety checking process. You can do this by completing the enquiry form below.
Use this form if you need to verify that a current or prospective employee or student holds a core worker exemption: