Child employment is covered by strict rules and regulations to ensure that the young people are properly registered, and are not being exploited or undertaking work that could damage their health, place them in physical danger or have an adverse effect on their education.

The official date for leaving school is the last Friday in June in the school year in which the pupil is 16. Before this date young people between the ages of 13 and 16 must have a work permit if they wish to undertake part time work. An application form must be completed and signed by the parents and the employer, and submitted to the Education Inclusion Service in Schools Services for approval. All employment which is not registered, where no Employment Permit is in force, is illegal.

Employers Responsibilities

Every child of school age who has a part time job working for an employer whether they are paid or undertaking voluntary work must be registered with the Local Authority and have a work permit. It is the employers’ responsibility to apply for a work permit in order to employ the child.

Employers must take into account the rules and regulations which control how many hours the child may work, what type of work the child can do and the type of premises the child will be working in (see below).

It is the employers’ duty to carry out a specific Young Person’s Risk Assessment of any hazards relating to the child employment and inform the parent/guardian of the outcome of the assessment. In addition the employer must ensure that proper clothing and footwear are worn and that proper training, guidance and supervision is given to the child, together with having appropriate insurance cover.

Child Employment Risk Assessment Form

Within 7 days of the child starting work the employer must complete a Child Employment application form which must be signed by the employer and the child’s parent/guardian. This application gives details of the child, hours of work, place of work and the type of work to be undertaken (see application form below).

Employers should take note of the following:

  • It is illegal to employ a child under 13 years of age
  • It is illegal to employ a child without having obtained a Child Employment Permit
  • Children can only be employed in specific types of work (noted below)
  • No child can work at any time between 7pm and 7am (Monday to Saturday)
  • No child can work more than 2 hours on a school day
  • No child can work for more 2 hours on a Sunday between the hours of 7am and 11am
  • No child can work more than 12 hours during any week they are required to attend school
  • A child aged 13 or 14 years can work up to 5 hours on a Saturday or school holiday, and can work up to a maximum of 25 hours a week during school holidays
  • A child aged 15 or 16 years can work up to 8 hours on a Saturday or school holiday, and can work up to a maximum of 35 hours a week during school holidays
  • A child who works for 4 hours must have a break of at least 1 hour
  • A child must have at least 2 weeks’ consecutive holiday per year

The above are only some of the rules and regulations surrounding child employment and you, as an employer, are responsible for ensuring that you are fully aware of the Child Employment Legislation and that any child in you employ is employed legally.

Prohibited Employment for Children

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
  • 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 three meters above ground/ floor level
  • in employment involving harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
  • to collect money or canvass door to door except under the supervision of an adult
  • in work involving exposure to adult material or in situations which are for this reason otherwise unsuitable for children
  • in telephone sales
  • in any slaughterhouse or in that part of any butcher’s shop or other premises connected with the killing of livestock, butchery, or the preparation of carcasses or 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 or chance or skill or similar device
  • in the personal care of residents of any residential care home or nursing home

Permitted employment of children aged 14 or over

A child aged 14 or over may be employed only in light work

Permitted employment of children aged 13

A child aged 13 may be employed only in light work in the following categories:

  • agricultural or horticultural work
  • delivery of newspapers, journals and other printed material
  • shop work, including shelf stacking
  • hairdressing salons
  • office work
  • car washing by hand in a private residential setting
  • in a café or restaurant
  • in riding stables
  • domestic work in hotels and other establishments offering accommodation

Child employment chart

The Council has a set of byelaws setting out the conditions under which young people can be employed, please contact the Education Inclusion Service for further information.

Please complete the application form below and return it along with 2 recent passport sized photos of the child if you wish to apply for a work permit.

Employment of Children Application Form

Further information can also be found on the National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment website.