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 the government guidance, child employment permits are currently revoked until further notice.

However, employers who do wish to continue employing a child during the current situation can apply to have the child’s employment permit reinstated.  They will need to meet clear criteria to ensure that the child’s wellbeing is safeguarded and the child is able to work in safe conditions.

The Government has now produced guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. 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.  In addition, a risk assessment checklist for employers has been produced.

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

  • a Risk Assessment (taking account of the government guidance above and guidance from Public Health and the Risk Assessment Checklist for Employers), this must be shared with and signed by the parent and child
  • a Child employment declaration
  • an individual responsive risk assessment.

To apply for a new child employment permit, employers will need to submit the above documents in addition to the application for an Employment Permit.

All applications for new child employment permits and requests for child employment permits to be reinstated will be considered on a case-by-case basis by a panel.  Employers will be informed of the decision of the panel in writing.

Where it is not possible to issue or reinstate a child employment permit at the current time, applications will be re-considered by the panel on a 4-weekly basis, taking account of Public Health and government guidance.  Where further information is required, this will be requested.

The situation will be reviewed regularly in line with government guidance and updates will be communicated to employers.

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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