There are laws and regulations to protect children that are thinking of or working part-time.
The youngest age a child can work part-time is 13, except children involved in areas such as television, theatre or modelling.
Children working in these areas will need a performance licence, which you can find on the Children in entertainment webpage.
Child employment permit
Before a child works, their employer must apply for a child employment permit. The permit is free and easy to get.
Without a permit, the employer is breaking the law and can be prosecuted. There is also a risk that the employer won’t be insured against accidents involving the child.
An application form must be completed by the employer, signed by the parent or guardian of the child and sent by email or returned to the address on the application. When authorised, a work permit will be issued to the child and notification will be sent to the employer.
What is the law?
Children and young people can only work in a limited number of jobs and for a limited number of hours, until they reach the minimum school leaving date. This is the last Friday in June of the year they turn 16.
Any child over the age of 13 years may work in their spare time, as long as they have an employment permit and follow the constraints listed below.
Children aged 13 may only be employed in light work in specified occupations, some of which are listed below:
- delivery of newspapers
- shop work - including shelf stacking
- domestic work in hotels
- cafe or restaurant
- office work
For a complete list, refer to employment bylaws.
Young people cannot work:
- during school hours
- more than 12 hours in any school week
- before 7am or after 7pm
- more than two hours on a school day. Either two hours after school or one hour before and one hour after school
- more than two hours on a Sunday
- more than five hours on Saturdays and holidays for 13 and 14 year olds or eight hours for 15 and 16 year olds
- more than 25 hours per week in school holidays for 13 and 14 year olds or 35 hours for 15 and 16 year olds
All young people must have a one hour break after four hours and must have two consecutive weeks holiday from any employment during school holiday time.
On school days, children may work for up to two hours, outside of school hours. However, they can only be employed for up to one hour before school on any day they are expected to attend.
A child may work for up to two hours on a Sunday between the hours 7am and 7pm.
No child of statutory school age may be employed, for reward or no reward:
- to deliver milk
- to deliver fuel oils
- in a commercial kitchen
- in a slaughterhouse or any part of a butcher's shop
- in any work higher than three metres above the ground or floor level
- to collect or sort refuse
- to collect money or to sell or canvass door to door
- in employment involving harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
- in any work involving exposure to adult material or situations unsuitable for children
- in telephone sales
- in a cinema, theatre, dance hall or night club, except in connection with a performance given by children, for which a licence has been granted
- on garage premises or selling petrol
- in a bar or licensed premises during opening hours
- in a licensed betting office
- at any machine prescribed as dangerous
How to apply
Download a copy of the Work Permit Application.
This should be completed by both employer and parent. The license is free to apply for and receive.
For more information, please contact the Child Employment Team on 0151 934 3263 or by email