Applying for a Core Worker Exemption

This page provides you with information about how and when to apply for a Core Worker Exemption.


You can apply for a Core Worker Exemption during training to work in the children’s workforce, before you are employed, or while you are already employed in a core children’s workforce role.Remember:

For central government:

  • From 1 July 2015, the workforce restriction applied to everyone applying for a new role in the core children’s workforce.
  • From 1 July 2016 the 12 month transition period expires, and the workforce restriction applies to everyone currently employed as core children’s workers.

For local authorities:

  • From 1 September 2016, the workforce restriction applies to everyone applying for a new role as core children’s workers.
  • By 1 September 2017, the 12 month transition period expires, and the workforce restriction applies to everyone currently employed as core children’s workers

You can apply for a Core Worker Exemption at any time, even before you have a job working with children.

Who needs a Core Worker Exemption?

This flowchart outlines who is required to apply for a Core Worker Exemption: Children's Workers - Who needs a Core Worker Exemption (CWE)? [PDF, 155 KB]

If granted, a Core Worker Exemption will last indefinitely, unless it is revoked. More information about revocation is available here.

A Core Worker Exemption is not role-specific, so, subject to conditions, a Core Worker Exemption holder can legally be employed in any core children’s workforce role.

It is up to you to apply for a Core Worker Exemption and to provide information so that a decision can be made.

To apply for a Core Worker Exemption you have to fill out and submit an application form and provide supporting documentation.  The onus is on the individual to make the application and to provide enough information to reach a decision.

The application form and supporting guidance notes are available here.

Core Worker Exemption process

A flowchart of the Core Worker Exemption Process is available to view here. [PDF, 452 KB]

A panel representing the Ministries of Social Development (MSD), Health, Education, Justice and New Zealand Police will consider your application.

The panel will make a recommendation to grant or decline a Core Worker Exemption. In reaching a recommendation, the panel will consider a number of factors, including:

  • The offence, date of conviction, sentence imposed and the sentence expiry date.
  • Parole or sentencing conditions.
  • Additional information such as character references, evidence of rehabilitation, frequency of offending.

Panel members will also consider and discuss:

  • How long ago the conviction was and what age you were at the time.
  • Any aggravating or mitigating factors including for example alcohol, drugs, anger or domestic violence issues.
  • Steps you’ve taken to address the behaviour (for example, rehabilitation courses or counselling).
  • Any character references you’ve provided.
  • Evidence about your support structures (community, family or employers).
  • Your work history.
  • Non-work time activities that evidence social support or good character (sports, arts or community involvement).

The panel may ask that you provide additional information (for example, a psychologist’s report or court records) to help them make their recommendations. You will be advised how to do this when it is required.

The final decision-maker will be the Chief Executive of the most appropriate government agency, who will consider your application, supporting information and the recommendation from the panel, before deciding whether to grant or decline your application.

The decision-maker can only grant an exemption if satisfied that you would not pose an undue risk to the safety of children if employed or engaged as a core worker.

You will be informed of any adverse findings or decisions, and given the opportunity to respond.

Making your application

Use the Core Worker Exemption Application Form [PDF, 3.5 MB] to make your application.

The Ministry of Social Development administers all Core Worker Exemption applications, even if you work in a local authority, or the health, education or justice sectors.

Please make sure you read the Core Worker Exemption Application Guidance [PDF, 202 KB] carefully before completing your application.

Completed application forms and supporting documentation should be:

CWE Advisor
Ministry of Social Development
PO Box 1556
Wellington 6140

Contact us

If you have a query relating to the workforce restriction or associated Core Worker Exemption, email us at: or call us on 0800 462 511.

Obtaining a copy of your sentencing notes (if required)

You will need to make a request to the Registrar of the court in which you were sentenced (if that court has closed, please send your request to the nearest court to the closed court). You can find the postal and email addresses for courts on Ministry of Justice website.

More information about what your request should include is available in the application guidance notes [PDF, 202 KB].