Children need permits to work

The council is stepping up its efforts to prevent children and young people being exploited by unscrupulous employers. Almost a quarter of all school pupils have at least one part-time job during term time, but many are working illegally and some are employed in dangerous or prohibited work.

Often these children may be working in unsuitable or unsafe conditions or may be working longer hours than permitted under the law. It is illegal to employ any child:

· Under 13-years-old
· During school hours on any school day
· Before 7am or after 7pm
· For more than five hours on a Saturday
· For more than two hours on a Sunday

On school days a child may work for up to two hours outside school hours, including one hour before school starts. Fifteen year-olds are permitted to work up to eight hours on Saturdays.

However, no young person under the age of 16 is allowed to work at any type of employment without first obtaining a work permit from the council's educational welfare service. These permits are issued free of charge.

By licensing the employment of young people, council staff are able to ensure they are not being exploited or are being expected to work in hazardous or dangerous conditions. They can also ensure that the employment does not interfere with their schooling.

Employers who employ children without permits could be prosecuted and face unlimited fines.

For more information and to obtain a permit telephone 020 8871 8306 or email

15th August 2003

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