Child employment permit

Having a part time job can be a rewarding and valuable experience for children. Children may be employed in light work from the age of 13 years old until the end of compulsory schooling. Light work means work which is not likely to be harmful to the safety, health or development of children and it is not harmful to their attendance at school. All children of compulsory school age who have a job must have a work permit (even if they are working voluntarily). 

The jobs that children can legally do are restricted by the Child Employment laws. We ensure that legislation and guidance is adhered to by making it compulsory for employers to apply for a work permit for children in part time jobs.

Permitted work for children

Children aged 13 years or more are allowed to be employed in light work in one or more of the following categories:

  • delivery of newspapers, journals and other printed material
  • domestic work in hotels and other establishments offering accommodation
  • car washing (by hand in a private residential setting)
  • in a cafe or restaurant
  • shop work
  • hairdressing salons
  • office work
  • in riding stables.

Prohibited employment

No child of any age may be employed:

  • in a cinema, theatre, discotheque, dance hall or night club (except in connection with a performance given entirely by children or under the terms and conditions of a performance licence)
  • to sell or deliver alcohol, except in sealed containers
  • to deliver milk
  • to deliver fuel oils
  • in a commercial kitchen
  • to collect or sort refuse
  • in any work which is more than 3 metres above ground or internal floor level
  • in employment involving harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
  • to collect money or to sell or canvass door to door
  • in work involving exposure to adult material
  • in telephone sales
  • in any slaughterhouse or in any part of a butcher's shop or other premises connected with the killing of livestock, butchery, or the preparation of meat for sale
  • as an attendant or assistant in a fairground or amusement arcade or in any other premises used for the purpose of public amusement by means of automatic machines, games of chance or skill or similar devices
  • in the personal care of residents of any residential care home or nursing home.

Hours children can work

Employment may only take place between 7am and 7pm.

Children aged 13 and 14 years can work for:

  • 2 hours on Sundays
  • 2 hours on school days (either one hour before and one hour after school, or two hours after school)
  • 5 hours on Saturdays
  • a maximum of 12 hours per week during term time
  • 5 hours daily during school holidays but not to exceed 25 hours per week.

Children aged 15 years until they are no longer of compulsory school age can work for:

  • 2 hours on Sundays
  • 2 hours on school days (either one hour before and one hour after school, or two hours after school)
  • 8 hours on Saturdays
  • a maximum 12 hours per week during term time
  • 8 hours daily during school holidays but not to exceed 35 hours per week.

Any child employed must have a rest break of at least one hour following 4 hours of continuous employment. During the year they must have at least two consecutive weeks in the school holidays which are free from work.

A young person is of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June in the school year in which they reach the age of 16 years.

This information is only a general guide.

Employers and parents must consult the relevant legislation for assistance with specific queries.

How to apply for a child work permit

Employers are required by law to register any child of compulsary school age who are working for them (paid or unpaid) with the Local Authority in which the child will be employed. An employer can be prosecuted for employing a child illegally. In addition, the insurance which the employer must have for his employees may not be valid.

The employer must apply for a work permit using the child employment permit application form.

Each work permit application must be accompanied by a Covid declaration

Applications should be sent to:

For further information please contact the Child Employment & Performance Officer on or 01202 096 677