Children in employment

A child of compulsory school age can only legally be employed in the Royal Borough if the Royal Borough has approved and issued a Child Employment Permit (a child whose 16th birthday falls between 1 September and 31 August in the following year remains of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June of that academic year). This should be applied for by the employer, preferably before a child commences employment with them.

download the Child employment application form [PDF] (file size 62Kb)

Children under the age of 13 years cannot be employed, and there are different working hours allowed for children under 15 years and those who are over 15. Specific rest periods are required. See below for further information on working hours.

  • children may only do light work and some types of work are prohibited altogether (contact the Education Welfare Service for further details)
  • an employer must carry out a risk assessment before employing a child
  • National Insurance Numbers are not valid until after the official school leaving date
  • a permit will be refused or cancelled if any employment is considered to be likely to harm in any way the education, health or physical development of the child

How many hours can a child work?

Children aged 13 or 14

A child aged 13 or 14 may work during school term time for a maximum of 12 hours a week and for a maximum of two hours on any school day between 7am and 8am or between 5pm and 7pm. During school holiday weeks, the maximum hours increase to 25 hours a week. On Saturdays, a child may work between the hours of 7am and 7pm for a maximum daily total of five hours. On Sundays, the permitted hours are between 7am and 7pm but the daily maximum is two hours. A break of one hour must be provided if the child works more than four hours during a day.

Children aged 15 or 16

A child aged 15 or 16 may work during term time for a maximum of 12 hours a week and for a maximum of two hours on any school day between the hours of 7am and 8am or between 5pm and 7pm. During school holidays the child may work a maximum of 35 hours a week. On Saturdays, a child may work between 7am and 7pm for a maximum of eight hours and on Sundays between the same hours for a maximum of two hours. A break of one hour must be provided where more than four hours are worked during a day. During school holidays, there must be at least two consecutive weeks without the child being employed.

Children under the age of 13 years cannot be employed.


How to apply for a Child Employment Permit

The employer should complete and submit the form to the Education Welfare Service, preferably in advance of the intended employment’s commencement but no later than within one week of employing a child. Employers must obtain authorisation from the Council’s Child Employment Officer for any child to be employed within the Royal Borough’s area, regardless of where the child lives.

The application form must be countersigned by the child’s parent or legal guardian and be accompanied by two recent passport size photographs of the child, a photocopy of the child’s birth certificate and a declaration from the parent or legal guardian stating that the child is fit, well and able to carry out the work. If the child suffers or has suffered from an illness, a medical examination and report may be required from the child’s General Practitioner before the permit can be issued.

The child must carry the Child Employment Permit at all times when working. The employer must keep a copy of the authorisation form for inspection purposes.


What else should employers do?

Employers should pay particular attention to the child’s safety and protection in the workplace and to health and safety legislation and insurance regulations. It is essential that a risk assessment be carried out before and during the child’s employment. The Association of British Insurers has stated that unless the employer has ensured that any child employed is properly registered for work by the local authority, then any injury or accident or other liability arising from the child’s employment will not be covered under the employer’s liability insurance. Employers who employ children illegally will be prosecuted.


Further information

download A Guide to Child Employment [PDF file] (file size 2Mb) 


Children in entertainment

Children working in entertainment (this includes models and child performers as well as children in TV, theatre and filming) require a Child Performance Licence.

Download an editable application form [WORD] (file size 70Kb)

Download a copy of the application form [PDF] (file size 23Kb)

Children working in entertainment also require a nominated adult to act as chaperone. A chaperone is responsible for the care and control of the child, including his health, comfort, kind treatment and moral welfare. For further information on chaperones, and to apply for a chaperone's licence, see the Chaperones page.


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