Child employment guidance for parents and employers

There are regulations in force to protect young people whilst in part-time employment

The following is information for parents and employers about the work a child is allowed to do whilst in compulsory education. It also outlines the responsibilities of the employer.

  • A child is employed if they assist in any trade or occupation carried on for profit. This applies whether or not the child receives pay or reward. It also applies whether or not the parent is the employer.
  • No child under the age of 13 years of age may be employed.
  • The possession of a National Insurance Number does NOT mean that the child/young person can leave school and work full time.
  • A child remains subject to these regulations until the end of June of Year 11, even if they become 16 years old earlier in that school year

Permitted hours:

  • No child of school age can be employed before 7am or after 7pm at any time (even during the school holidays)
  • On school days a child of school age may only work two hours a day (one hour may be before school and one after school, or two hours after school)
  • Sundays: a child of school age may only work two hours on any Sunday and only between 7am and 7pm
  • Children aged 13 and 14 years may work on:
    Saturdays: five hours a day (maximum of 12 hours in any week)
    School holidays: five hours a day (maximum of 25 hours in any week)
  • Children aged 15 and 16 years may work on:
    Saturdays: 8 hours a day (maximum of 12 hours in any week)
    School holidays: 8 hours a day (maximum of 35 hours in any week)
  • Every child must have two consecutive weeks away from work during the school holidays each year

The employer is responsible:

  • for ensuring that children of compulsory school age are registered with the local authority and have a permit
  • for the health, safety, and welfare of the children they employ, and to carry out individual risk assessments
  • that the child has proper clothing and shoes including protective clothing where necessary for the job they are doing
  • that proper rest breaks are adhered to – at least one hour rest, after four hours work

Whilst Surrey County Council wishes to work closely with employers in child employment, it must be remembered that employers are liable to prosecution if they:

  • do not register their school age employees
  • employ school age children in a prohibited occupation
  • allow school age children to work outside the hours permitted by the byelaws

A child unregistered for employment may not be covered by insurance.

Parent/Legal Guardian:

A child must be registered and be issued with a work permit. A parent/legal guardian has a duty in law to act as a responsible parent to ensure your child(ren):

  • is registered with the local authority for the purpose of child employment
  • and that they are fit for the job they are doing

If your child is working without a permit, they may not be insured against injury should they be involved in an accident whilst at work.

Prohibited Employment
Surrey County Council Byelaws say that NO child of any age may be employed:

  • in a cinema, theatre, discotheque, dance hall or night club (unless licensed to perform there)
  • to sell or deliver alcohol except in sealed containers
  • to deliver milk
  • to deliver fuel oils
  • in a commercial kitchen
  • to collect or sort refuse
  • in any work which is more than three metres above ground or in case of internal work more than three metres above floor level
  • in employment involving harmful exposure to physical; biological, or chemical agents
  • to collect money or to sell or canvass door to door
  • in telephone sales
  • in work involving exposure to adult material or situations which are for this reason otherwise unsuitable for children
  • in any slaughterhouse or in that part of any butcher's shop or other premises connected with killing of livestock, butchery, or the preparation of carcasses or meat for sale
  • as an attendant or assistant in a fairground or amusement arcade or in any other premises used for the purpose of the public amusement by means of automatic machines, games of chance or skill or similar devices
  • in the personal care of residents of any residential care home or nursing home.

Further details:

The details outlined above are general rules in relation to child employment. If you would like further information, email

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