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Child Employment Frequently Asked Questions

Here we hope to answer your questions and queries about Child Employment.

What age can I legally work?

From age thirteen, only part-time and only in specific areas. Any work you do must not affect your school work or attendance at school.

Do I need a work permit?

Yes. It is a legal requirement. Dudley Council licenses all children who work in the Dudley borough, even if they live or go to school in another authority.

How long does an employment permit last?

The Employment Permit lasts for as long as the young person has the job or until they leave school. A young person who changes job or changes hours of working will need to have a new work permit.

Can I start work before I receive my work permit?

Yes as long as your employer has submitted the application.

What happens after I apply?

We always check the child’s date of birth, attendance and the nature of the work. 

If authorised: The permit is sent to the employer with a copy for the child. The child’s employment details are entered on our database and this information may be shared with other colleagues. 

Please note that if there are concerns about your child’s attendance, the permit may be revoked, refused, or issued on a temporary basis only.

As a child, can I work for more than one employer?

You can work for as many employers as you like – but each separate job must be covered by a separate work permit. The limits on working times/hours will apply to the total hours of all your jobs. For example; you can work for three different employers on a Sunday, but your total hours for all three jobs combined must not exceed the permitted two hour maximum.

I’m not being paid for the work I do; do I still need a work permit?

Yes, a work permit is needed for work whether it is paid or unpaid.

Do I need a permit to babysit?

No because babysitting does not fall under child employment regulations. Guidance is available on request, please contact Child Employment Officer for further information.

Do you find employment for pupils seeking part time work?

No. The Local Authority is not authorised to act as an “employment bureau”. The role of the council is to ensure that the employment remains within the confines of the law – and thus (as far as possible) safe for the child.

What hours can my child work?

  • No child under the age of 13 can work
  • Children are not allowed to work before 7am or after 7pm whether they are paid or unpaid.
  • Children of compulsory school age are not allowed to work during school time unless it is work experience arranged by the school.

Age 13 & 14:

  • School days - not more than 2 hours outside of school hours
  • Saturdays - 5 hours
  • Sundays - 2 hours
  • School holidays - 5 hours a day to a maximum of 25 hours a week

Age 15 & 16:

  • School days - not more than 2 hours outside of school hours
  • Saturdays - 8 hours
  • Sundays - 2 hours
  • School holidays - 8 hours a day to a maximum of 35 hours a week

Employers must provide suitable and set times for rest.
Children are not allowed to work for more than 4 hours without a 1 hour break.
There must be at least 2 weeks, taken together, when the child must not work.
Children can only work twelve hours maximum in any school week.

I am a parent and my child works in the family business. Do I need to get a work permit?

Yes, a child requires a permit even if working for a family member.

My child has received a National Insurance Card. Can they start full-time work?

No, not until s/he is over official school leaving age: the last Friday in June of Year 11.

Can the license be withdrawn?

Yes, if your child’s attendance is poor, or we are concerned about your child’s welfare in any way.

Other things to think about

Health and Safety

The employer must complete a risk assessment before the child starts work. The employer must also ensure that the child is properly protected when working and has appropriate clothing for indoor and outdoor work.

Child Protection

Child employment is a child protection issue. The work permit safeguards your child’s employment and welfare. If you or your child have any concerns, please contact this department.

Work Experience

This comes under different legislation and must be approved through your child’s school

Employers Who Don’t Apply for Work Permits

An employer who employs a compulsory school age child without an employment permit is in contravention of the child employment regulations and action may be taken against them by the local authority in whose area the employment takes place. This is applicable to all employers by all local authorities.

Permitted and Prohibited Employment

Permitted Employment

  • Deliver newspapers and leaflets
  • Shop work
  • Hairdressers
  • Office work
  • Car washing by hand in a private residential setting
  • In a café or restaurant
  • In riding stables
  • Domestic work
  • Agricultural or horticultural work (only occasionally and for child’s own parents)

Prohibited Employment

  • In a cinema, theatre, disco, dance hall or night club, unless licensed under Child Performance regulations
  • Sell or deliver alcohol (except in sealed containers)
  • Deliver milk
  • Deliver fuel oils
  • In a commercial kitchen
  • Collect or sort refuse
  • In any work more than three metres above ground floor level
  • In any work involving harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
  • Collect money or sell or canvas door-to-door
  • Involving exposure to adult material or situations
  • In telephone sales
  • In a slaughter house or in the part of any premises connected with the killing of livestock, butchery or preparation of carcasses or meat for sale
  • In an amusement arcade or fairground
  • Personal care of residential or nursing home residents

Health and Safety

Health and safety of children and young people at work is paramount. You may find useful information on keeping safe at work, or on your way to and from work in our Health and Safety section.

Useful documents: 

A good practice guide to babysitting (PDF 141.65KB)

Winter safety for young workers (PDF 49.38KB)