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Guidance on children and young people in employment or entertainment


There are laws that cover employment of children under school leaving age. Children are of compulsory school age until the academic year in which they turn 16. Our guides can help children and young people, their parents, employers and producers.

Work permits

If you have a young person of compulsory school age working for you, you must make sure they have valid work permits (employment cards). The employer must apply for these and they are issued for specific employment. They cannot be transferred with the child if they change job or employer or transferred to another child or job by you. The work permits are issued by the local authority where the employer is based and not where the child lives (if that is different).

Work permits may also be necessary when children are volunteering for charities. Please take a look at this volunteer's guide (PDF) and the Working with Volunteers page for more information.

To apply please complete and follow the instructions on our work permit application form (DOC).

For more information on any aspect of child employment in Surrey, email our child employment team at or call us on 01483 517838.


There are also specific rules covering children working in entertainment.


All children of compulsory school age require a performance licence (PDF) to take part in any performance. Applications for performance licences should be submitted at least 21 days before the date of the first performance. Although we will process applications received with less than 21 days notice whenever possible, we cannot guarantee to do so. We will charge a fee of £25 per licence for applications received five days or less before the date of the first performance. See our guidance to help you complete the performance licence application form (PDF).

We can allow exemption approvals to some organisations putting on non-professional or amateur performances that would normally have to licence individual children taking part, for example, amateur dramatics, operatic societies, dance schools and organisers of music/drama/dance festivals. These are issued per performance/festival or for 12 months and the performance/festival must still comply with the law around children in entertainment. We provide guidance (PDF) and have an exemptions application form (PDF) organisations need to complete.

Organisations that wish to involve children in their productions should have a child protection policy. We have produced guidance to help you write a child protection policy (PDF) for your organisation.

We provide guidance for all holders and operators of premises licences in a Surrey borough. All applicants for new premise licences or variations to existing premise licences should familiarise themselves with this guidance when completing section M (measure to promote the licensing objective 'Protection of Children from Harm').

Data Management

If you would like to see how we use your personal data please read our privacy notice.

Further Information

For more information, including details of performance licences, email our child employment team at: or call on 01483 517838.