Children's Services

A guide to child employment

The hours of work and conditions of child employment are described by the Children and Young Persons Acts 1933 and 1963, the Children (Protection at Work) Regulations 1998 and Hampshire County Council Byelaws on the Employment of Children 1998.

These laws are to protect the health, safety, well-being and education of children.

At what age can children work?

Children may do light work from the age of 13 years until they are no longer of compulsory school age.

What is "light work"?

Light work means work which is not likely to be harmful to the safety, health or development of children and is not harmful to their attendance at school or participation in work experience.

What type of work are children permitted to do?

Permitted work for 13 year olds

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

  • agricultural or horticultural work
  • 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

List of 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 or in situations which are for this reason otherwise unsuitable for children
  • 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.

note: other legislation prohibits children's employment e.g. in industrial undertaking and street trading.

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 sixteen years.

Employment permits

Employers are required by law to register any children who work for them (whether paid or unpaid).

They must complete an application for employment form (which the parent of the child must also sign) and send it to the Child Employment Office. An employment permit may then be issued for the child to carry whilst working.

Wherever possible we will email the work permit to the employer and or parent to print and pass onto the child.

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.

Permitted hours of work

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

Hours of work for children aged 13 and 14 years

  • 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
  • Maximum 12 hours per week during term time
  • 5 hours daily during school holidays but not to exceed 25 hours per week

Hours of work for children aged 15 years until they are no longer of compulsory school age

  • 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
  • Maximum 12 hours per week during term time
  • Eight hours daily during school holidays but not to exceed 35 hours per week

Any child employed must have a rest break of not less than one hour following four hours of continuous employment and during the year 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 sixteen years.

This information is only a general guide.

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

For further information contact the Child Employment Office.

 

Child Employment Office

For further information and advice contact:

The Child Employment Office
Clarendon House
Monarch Way
Winchester
SO22 5PW

Telephone: 01962 876300/876301

Email: child.employment@hants.gov.uk