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Child employment

Child employment

This guidance is about the rules which apply to the employment of children of compulsory school age.

A young person who assists in a trade or occupation for profit is considered as employed, even if they receive no payment. For example, children who help their parents in a shop without receiving payment.

Restrictions on child employment

There are specific rules relating to the employment of 13 year olds. Children aged 13 and over who are of statutory school age can have paid employment (the rules also cover unpaid & voluntary employment) outside school time. The amount of time, the type of employment and when they can be employed are governed by South Gloucestershire byelaws, which in their turn are based on statute.

Further details about restrictions on child employment can be found on the GOV.UK website.

The permit system

The employer must undertake a risk assessment for all children who work. When undertaking a risk assessment, the employer should take into consideration a young person’s lack of experience, absence of awareness of existing or potential risks and age. The risk assessment must be shared with the young person’s parent or carer before the employment begins.

Employers must apply for a work permit for a child within seven days of the start of employment.

The local authority will issue an employment permit if they are satisfied that the proposed employment is lawful. This means the child’s health, welfare or ability to take full advantage of his or her education would not be jeopardised by employment and that the child is fit to undertake the work for which they are to be employed.

The local authority may revoke a child’s employment permit if the authority thinks that the child is undertaking illegal tasks or the child’s health, welfare or education is likely to suffer.

Once the permit has been issued a senior education officer may visit the young person’s place of work to ensure that the terms of the work permit are being upheld.

Work experience

This is arranged by schools. It is possible for work experience to take place in work premises that would otherwise be prohibited under child employment law. For advice regarding work experience contact your child’s school.

Compulsory education

A young person is still of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June of the school year (1 September – 31 August) in which they reach the age of 16.


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