Children aged 13 and over can get a part-time job outside of school hours. But there are laws that affect when they can work and what they can do. This is to protect children and make sure their education does not suffer.
Who counts as a child
The laws count a young person as a child while they are still of compulsory school age (up to the last Friday in June of the 1 September to 31 August school year in which they become 16).
What counts as employment
The law applies whenever a child is helping in an employer's business or trade, whether they are paid or not. The law does not apply to babysitting or helping at home
Child employment licences
By law, employers wanting to employ a child need a licence for each child, including their own children. They must apply within 7 days of the child starting work.
This means that if you are a child and you have been offered a part time job, your employer must apply for a licence.
An employer who allows a child to work without getting a licence is breaking the law and could be prosecuted. Without a licence, the child will not be covered by the employer's insurance.
Apply for a child employment licence
Hours children can work
The hours children can work vary by age and are different in term time and holidays.
For full details see GOV.UK - Child employment
Types of work allowed
As well as national restrictions, there are local child employment bylaws that set out what types of work children are allowed to do in Cheshire East.
The bylaws say that children can only be employed in 'light work'. Light work is work that is not likely to put their safety, health or development at risk or harm their education.
Types of work allowed for children aged 13
Children who are 13 can only do the following types of job:
- occasional light agricultural or horticultural work
- delivering newspapers or leaflets
- shop work, including shelf stacking
- helping in hairdressing salons, such as shampooing and sweeping up
- office clerical work (but not if the office is part of a factory)
- car washing by hand in a private residential setting
- waiting on in a cafe or restaurant (subject to conditions)
- work in a riding stables
- domestic work in hotels and other establishments offering accommodation
Types of work allowed for children aged 14 and over
Children aged 14 and over can do any light work except for work which is prohibited.
Children are not allowed to do any of the following work:
- work in a cinema, theatre, dance hall or night club, except in connection with a performance given entirely by children
- selling or delivering alcohol, except in sealed containers
- delivering milk
- delivering fuel oils
- cooking or preparing food
- collecting or sorting rubbish
- any work that is more than 3 metres above ground level or floor level
- where there is any harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
- where they might see adult material
- on garage premises or selling petrol
- in a licenced betting office
- collecting money
- selling or canvassing door to door
- telephone sales
- in a slaughterhouse or butchers shop where meat is prepared for sale
- in a fairground or amusement arcade or similar place of public amusement
- in the personal care of residents in a residential home
- factory or industrial work
- collecting money
- street trading
- any work that could be described as dangerous
If you are employing children, you are responsible for all aspects of the child's safety and wellbeing while they are working for you.
You must do all the following:
- carry out a risk assessment and share your findings with the parents before you apply for a licence
- apply for a child employment licence within 7 days of the child starting work
- make sure the child is wearing suitable clothing and footwear
- be aware of and follow the laws about child employment at all times
If your child is starting a part-time job, the employer must share their risk assessment and the child employment licence application form with you.
For us to issue the licence, you need to do the following:
- check that you are happy with the risk assessment and that the job will not put your child at risk
- confirm on the form that you are satisfied that the job will not harm your child's education
- answer the questions on the form about the child's health - if there is any doubt about the child's fitness to do the work, we may need the child to be checked by the school medical officer
We visit employers from time to time to check on current licences. We also make visits to look into what is happening if people have raised concerns to us.
In Cheshire East, the school attendance team are responsible for overseeing children in employment.