Child employment

We need to know about all children who are of school age and are employed. The work must be suitable and must not affect the child's health or education.

Employment is any type of paid or voluntary work carried out for any person, organisation or business that can be deemed to be the employer of the child.

If you have any questions, or need advice on child employment, please email

Read detailed information about child employment, including restrictions and minimum pay, on the government's website.

Minimum age – the age a child can work

Children have to be 13 to work part-time. They can only work a set number of hours and must have break.

Child employment refers to all children of school starting age.

School-aged children are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

Read more about on the minimum ages children can work on the government's website.

Children younger than 13 can work in entertainment; read about children working in entertainment.

Hours and breaks

Children can only work a set amount of hours. This depends on what day of the week it is and whether it is during school term time.

Children are not allowed to work before 7am, after 7pm, or during the school day.

Maximum number of hours per day a child can work
Type of day Age 13 to 14 Age 15 or over


5 hours

8 hours


2 hours

2 hours

School day

2 hours per day - either 1 hour before school and 1 hour after school or 2 hours after school.

2 hours per day - either 1 hour before school and 1 hour after school or 2 hours after school.

School holiday

5 hours a day (except Sunday)

8 hours a day (except Sunday)

Maximum number of hours per week a child can work
Time of year Age 13 to 14 Age 15 or over
Term time 12 hours

12 hours

School holiday

25 hours

35 hours

Children must have:

  • a break of at least 1 hour after 4 hours work
  • a 2-week break from work during the school holidays

Jobs that are and aren't allowed

Allowed jobs

Jobs allowed are:

  • agricultural or horticultural work
  • newspaper and printed material delivery including collecting money
  • shop work including shelf stacking
  • hairdressing salons
  • office work
  • riding stables
  • waitressing
  • domestic work in hotels and other buildings offering accommodation.

Babysitting for friends and neighbours is not classed as 'employment'.

Not allowed jobs

Jobs not allowed are:

  • delivering fuel oils
  • street trading
  • pub and bar work
  • cleaning or operating machinery
  • collecting money, selling or canvassing door-to-door, unless there is adult supervision
  • delivery of milk
  • collecting or sorting refuse
  • sale of alcohol, except in sealed containers
  • work in a slaughterhouse, or in the preparation of meat or fish for sale
  • telephone sales
  • activities connected with the use of firearms
  • personal care of residents in care homes unless there is adult supervision
  • any work which is more than 3 metres above ground level
  • any work involving harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
  • work involving exposure to adult material or in situations which are for this reason unsuitable for children
  • commercial kitchens
  • fairgrounds and amusement arcades
  • building sites
  • gambling clubs
  • cinema, theatre, discotheque, dance hall or nightclub, except in connection with performance given entirely by children
  • markets (unless employed and directly supervised by a child's parent, in connection with their retail business)

Read more information about restrictions on child employment on the government's website.

Attending school

Children may not work during school hours.

If a child is employed, their education must not suffer. School should be the priority.

Children in entertainment can take part in a licensed performance during the school day only with with a license.

Apply for a child work permit

You must have a child work permit to employ a child.

The child work permit shows that the child's employment has been registered with us and that their employment is legal.

It is against the law to employ a child without a permit. Children over 16 and still in year 11 at school also need a permit.

Permits can be revoked if the job is affecting the child's attendance or performance at school. We can advise you to make changes to the job if it is affecting school. For example, changing the hours if the child is always late for school. Once a permit has been issued, if the employment changes you will need to let us know.

Work experience does not require a child work permit.

The person employing the child needs to apply.

How to apply

Apply online

Applications need to be sent within 1 week of employment starting.

What happens next?

We'll send a work permit card to you, only for the job on the application form. If you're the parent or guardian, we'll also send you a letter confirming this.

We may inspect the workplace and speak to the employer. We'll write a report and let you know if there are any problems.

If you are concerned about a child in employment

Please email to let us know.

If the employer doesn't have a child work permit, they can be fined up to £1000.

Withdrawing a permit

We may withdraw a child’s work permit if their part-time work appears to:

  • stop them from getting the maximum benefit from school
  • affect their attendance at school
  • vary from the job description (or the permitted hours)