Child employment

This guidance is about the rules which apply to the employment of children of compulsory school age. A young person is still of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June of the school year (1 September – 31 August) in which they reach the age of 16. 

A young person who assists in a trade or occupation for profit is considered as employed, even if they receive no payment. For example, children who help their parents in a shop without receiving payment.   For information about child performances see our council webpage.

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Covid-19 update

With the safety of children in employment being paramount, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to adhere to relevant government guidance, we are asking that employers refer to the Government produced guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during coronavirus.

Although this guidance is not specific to child employees, it is strongly advised that employers have regard to the government guidance, to assist them in producing risk assessments. Employers will need to meet clear criteria to ensure that a child employee’s wellbeing is safeguarded, and the child is able to work in safe conditions.

To apply for a child employment permit, employers will need to submit the following:

  • a Child Employment declaration
  • If the child employee is deemed as Clinically Vulnerable or Clinically Extremely vulnerable, we will require a copy of the Risk Assessment which demonstrates the steps that have been taken in order to mitigate against the risk of Covid-19.

Employers will need to submit the above document(s) in addition to the application for an Employment Permit.

Restrictions on child employment

There are specific rules relating to the employment of children aged 13 years old or over. Children aged 13 and over who are of statutory school age can have paid employment (the rules also cover unpaid & voluntary employment) outside school time. The amount of time, the type of employment and when they can be employed are governed by South Gloucestershire byelaws, which in their turn are based on statute.

Further details about restrictions on child employment can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Further information about the permit system

In addition to the risk assessment undertaken in relation to reducing the possible transmission of Covid-19, the employer must undertake further risk assessments pertaining to the work to be undertaken by the child; the employer should take into consideration a young person’s lack of experience, absence of awareness of existing or potential risks and age. The risk assessment must be shared with the young person’s parent or carer before the employment begins.

Employers must apply for a work permit for a child within seven days of the start of employment.

The local authority will issue an employment permit if they are satisfied that the proposed employment is lawful.

The local authority may revoke a child’s employment permit if they think that the child is undertaking illegal tasks or the child’s health, welfare or education is likely to suffer.

Once the permit has been issued a senior education officer may visit the young person’s place of work to ensure that the terms of the work permit are being upheld.

Work experience

This is arranged by schools. It is possible for work experience to take place in work premises that would otherwise be prohibited under child employment law. For advice regarding work experience contact your child’s school.

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