Children need permits to work

Published: Thursday 7th April 11

With the school’s Easter holiday approaching, the council is once more stepping up its efforts to prevent children and young people from 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 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.

Thirteen and 14-year-olds are also permitted to work up to five hours on a Saturday, while 15-year-olds are permitted to work up to eight hours on Saturdays.

During school holidays 13 and 14-year-olds can work up to a 25 hours a week while 15 and 16-year-olds can work up to 35 hours a week.

There are also a range of jobs and workplaces that young people under 16 are prohibited from. These include:

In a commercial kitchen
To collect or sort refuse
To collect money or to sell or canvass door to door unless under the supervision of an adult
In telephone sales
In a butcher's shop or other premises connected with the killing of livestock, butchery or the preparation of carcasses or meat for sale.
In a fairground or amusement arcade
Any external work which is more than three meters above ground level or any internal work more than three metres above floor level.
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 once checks have been carried out on the suitability of the work and workplace.
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 an information leaflet about young people in the workplace, advice from education welfare officers or to apply for a permit telephone (020) 8871 8306.

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