A study by Otago University has found children's paid work provides many benefits - even when it is poorly paid.
College of Education researchers looked at the views of parents with children as young as 11 doing after-school jobs.
It found the children were often discriminated against - for instance, being paid $4 per hour or being denied contracts and proper breaks.
But their parents saw many benefits for them, including independence, experience and building a strong work ethic.
The authors recommend Government policy should focus on employers treating young people fairly, rather than placing age restrictions on work, which New Zealand is under international pressure to do.