Having a part-time or holiday job can be a good experience for children. It gives them experience of work, whilst earning a wage.

There are regulations and local bye-laws in place which stipulate the type of work and the hours of work children can do. These regulations are in place to protect the health and wellbeing of the child and to ensure that their education does not suffer.

These regulations are in place until the child reaches the minimum school leaving date. This is the last Friday in June of the child's 16th Birthday. A child does not stop being compulsory school age as soon as they turn 16 or when they receive their National Insurance Number. 

A child may only start part-time work when they are 13 years old, as long as they have a Child Employment work permit. See below for further guidance on how to apply for a work permit. 

Permitted Employment 

You can only employ children aged 13 in light work in certain occupations. Examples of these are below:

  • Agricultural or horticultural work
  • Delivering newspapers
  • Work in a shop
  • Work in a hairdressers
  • Office work
  • Work in a cafe or restaurant
  • Work in riding stables
  • Undertake domestic work in hotels or other establishments offering accommodation.              

From the age of 14, a child may carry out work from the above list and other light work provided the jobs are not on the list of prohibited employment shown below. 

Prohibited Employment

Children are not permitted to:

  • Work in a cinema, theatre, dance hall, disco or night club
  • Sell or deliver alcohol
  • Deliver fuel oils
  • Work in a commercial kitchen
  • Collect or sort refuse
  • Do any job which involves you being more than three metres off the ground
  • Do a job which may bring you into contact with harmful chemicals
  • Collect money or sell or canvass door to door
  • Be exposed to adult material which is considered unsuitable for children
  • Work in telephone sales
  • Work in a slaughterhouse, abattoir or be involved on the preparation of meat for sale
  • Work in a fairground or amusement arcade
  • Work in "personal care" in a residential or nursing home   

This is not a complete list. If you have any doubt about the kind of employment you are offering a child please seek our advice.  

Working Hours

Children 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 children must have a one hour break after four hours and must have two consecutive weeks holiday from any employment during school holiday time. 

Child Employment Work Permit

If a child is of school age and has a part time job, they require a Child Employment Work Permit.

If the child is going to perform on stage, in television, film or commercials or to work in paid or professional sport or as a model, they will require a Child Performance Licence. Please visit our Child Performance webpage for further information.

A child is considered to be employed if they assist in any trade or occupation carried out for profit. It does not matter whether the child is paid or not. This includes any child working within a family business. In these circumstances, a work permit will need to be applied for.

A child must have a work permit and this must be applied for within 7 days of the child starting work. It is best practice to apply for the work permit before the child begins work to avoid any delay in the processing of the application.

To apply for a work permit, the employer and child's parents must complete the application form, in full and return it along with the Young person's Risk Assessment, to the Child Employment and Entertainment Team. Incomplete applications or failure to provide a risk assessment will result in the delay of a permit being processed. In some cases, permits may be refused.

Where possible, we kindly request you submit the application and risk assessment via email.

Download Application Form (PDF 173KB)

Download Child Employment Leaflet (PDF 1.8MB)

Without a Child Employment Work Permit, the employer is breaking the law and can be prosecuted. There is also a risk that the employer will not be insured against accidents involving the child. Don't delay, apply today. 

Employer's Responsibilities

Employers must ensure that relevant insurance cover is in place.

The employer must undertake a comprehensive risk assessment of the work involved and discuss this with the child and parent/guardian.

The employer must ensure that suitable clothing and footwear are worn by the young person.

The employer ensures that the child is properly trained and understands what is expected of them.

The employer must not allow children to work outside the permitted hours or employ children in a prohibited occupation. 

Contact Us

Child Employment and Entertainment
West Cumbria House
Jubilee Road
CA14 4HB