Children in employment and entertainment
The minimum age for employment is 13 years of age.
These are some examples of the types of work children of school age can be employed to do:
- Work in shops including on tills
- Shelf stacking
- Delivering newspapers, journals and leaflets
- Office work
- Serving at a table in a café or restaurant
- Car washing by hand
- Light agricultural/horticultural work
- Working in a riding stable
- Shampooing/sweeping up in a hairdressers
- Working in hotels
- Jobs in entertainment
This is not a complete list.
These are some examples of work children of school age cannot be employed to do:
- Work in any commercial kitchen such as a café, pub, hotel, restaurant or fish and chip shop
- Serve alcoholic drinks in pubs, clubs or restaurants
- Work in cinemas, discos, nightclubs or theatres
- Work in a factory or industrial undertaking
- Work in a fairground, amusement park or where gambling takes place
- Work in milk delivery or butchers shops
- Telephone sales
- Serve petrol/fuel/oil, or handle any dangerous biological or chemical substances
- Collect money, selling or canvassing door to door or in street trading
- Lift heavy objects
This is not a complete list.
No child may start work before 7am or finish later than 7pm. When aged between 13 years and their school leaving date a child may work:
On school days:
- One hour before school and up to two hours after school.
- They must not work more than a total of two hours on any school day.
All Sunday employment is restricted to a maximum of two hours.
Saturdays and school holidays:
- Children aged 13 or 14 years old can work for a total of five hours daily to a maximum of 25 hours weekly
- Children aged 15 years and over can work for a total of eight hours daily to a maximum of 35 hours weekly
A child who works for four hours in any one session must have a break of one hour.
Children may not work during school hours. Employment should not impede the child's education.
All children who are of statutory school age who work must by law have a work permit.
You can apply for a work permit by completing an application form.
Once completed send the form to:
Child Employment/Entertainment Team
Professional Development Centre
144 Woodside Road
Employers are responsible for ensuring that each child:
- Carries a work permit
- Works only the hours stated on the work permit
- Carries out only the employment stated on the work permit
- Has adequate and appropriate clothing for the work to be undertaken
- Is in a good state of health for the work they are undertaking
The employer is also responsible for carrying out a risk assessment.
Work experience is a part of the education curriculum and is governed by education legislature which is very different from child employment legislation, both in the work a child is allowed to do and the hours they are permitted to work.
Children in entertainment
Children who are of school age may require a licence to perform in entertainment. This includes amateur dramatic groups, dance schools, orchestras, choirs and singing groups.
The person responsible for the production of the performance should initially contact the Local Authority where the child lives for more information.
For more information read the regulations for children in entertainment.
To apply for a licence email email@example.com
Performance: a licence is issued for the duration of the specified performance (which must not exceed six months)
Modelling: In certain circumstances it is possible for the Authority to issue a six-month extended licence to cover such activities as modelling.
All children must be under the care and supervision of a responsible adult at all times. This can be their parent or a registered matron/chaperon.