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Child employment

Children and Young persons Act 1933 to 1963, (as amended by the Education Acts 1944, 1976 and 1996 and the Children Act 1972). The Children (Protection at work) Regulations 1998.

If you intend to employ a young person who is of school age, you, as the employer, are legally responsible for applying for a work permit for them. A young person reaching 16 years of age between the start of the school year and 31 August remains of compulsory school age until the last Friday of June in that year i.e a 16 year old in year 11 needs a work permit.

The permitted hours for employing young people are shown below. A work permit must be obtained at least two weeks before you intend the employment to commence. Regular employment checks are carried out by the Attendance Service to ensure the safety and well being of the young person.

Permitted hours

School days up to a maximum of 12 hours per week during term time

  • Either between the end of the school day and 7pm up to a maximum of 2 hours.
  • Or 1 hour between 7am and 8am and 1 hour between the end of the school day and 7pm.

Saturdays and school holidays

  • 13-15 years of age: 5 hours per day, up to a maximum of 25 hours per week in school holidays.
  • 15 years and over: 8 hours per day, up to a maximum of 35 hours per week in school holidays.

In addition:

  1. The employment must not take place before 7am or after 7pm
  2. The child shall not be employed for more than 4 hours consecutively
  3. The child shall be free for rest and recreation for a continuos period of 1 hour after each period of employment.


Maximum of 2 hours which must be between 7am and 7pm

Why have a work permit?

Work permits matter - here’s why. If a child or young person works without a permit, the employer is breaking the law and can be prosecuted. The employee is not covered by the employer’s liability insurance.
Applying for a work permit is not difficult and there is no cost involved- a valid permit ensures that the health, welfare and education of young people in employment is protected.

Further advice and information on current relevant bylaws, can be obtained from:

School Services
Observatory House
25 Windsor Road
Slough, SL1 2EL

Telephone: 01753 875729
Fax: 01753 875873

Further and full information is available from the National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment website.