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Child employment and child performance licensing

Child employment

School-age children often find that having a part-time job is a positive and rewarding experience, and they can benefit greatly from part-time work. However, your schoolwork, homework, and attendance at school must always come first. We (the council) also have to make sure the jobs that children do are safe, and don’t impact on your health, education, or wellbeing.

Facts about child employment

  • Children aged between 13 and 16, as long as they're still of school age (see below), can legally work part-time
  • Children under 13 are not allowed to work
  • Any job must be done outside of school hours
  • Your job must not affect your studies or mean you miss school
  • You can only do certain types of work and work certain hours (see 'guidance for the employment of children and young people')
  • You must have a work permit if you're still of school age (see below)

What is 'school age'?

You're classed as school age right up until the last Friday in June of Year 11 – even if you're already 16 or have a National Insurance Number. This includes children who are Electively Home Educated (home schooled).

Child employment laws


The law says that any child of school age who's in part-time employment must be registered with the council. The employer must also get an employment permit for the child from the council. Your employer can be prosecuted by the council if they:

  • don't register their school age employees
  • employ school age children in prohibited occupations
  • allow school age children to work outside of the hours allowed by law

The guidance for the employment of children and young people document has more information about the hours children can legally work, and the jobs and places they can and can't work in.

If your employer breaks any laws or byelaws by employing you, they - and any other person seen as legally responsible - will be fined up to £1000 if they're convicted. You won't be fined.

Find out more about child employment laws on GOV.UK.

Child Employment Permit


Employers must make sure that a child is registered with the council and has a Child Employment Permit within seven days of the child starting work. The permit is needed to legally register the child’s employment with the council for the area where the employment takes place. This includes children working on a voluntary basis. Child Employment Permits are free and are valid for 12 months.

Employers are responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of the children they employ. They must make sure that the child wears suitable clothing and footwear for the job they're doing. They must also carry out a comprehensive, individual risk assessment of the work involved, and tell the child's parent or guardian about the results of the risk assessment.

The employer must make sure they have relevant insurance cover.

Applying for a Child Employment Permit


A child may start their job without a permit, as long as the completed Child Employment Permit application form has been sent to the council within a week of the child starting their job.

Child Employment Permits are issued by the Education Welfare Service. Applications should be e-mailed to ceel@middlesbrough.gov.uk or sent to: Education Welfare Service, Access to Education, PO Box 505, Middlesbrough House, Corporation Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 2RH. This must be done within the first week that the child starts work.

Download the Child Employment Permit application form. The form must be filled in by the child's employer, with parental consent.

For us to issue a permit, the employer must give all the required information, and we must be satisfied that:

  • the proposed employment is legal
  • the child’s health, welfare, and ability to take advantage of their education won't be harmed
  • the child is fit to carry out the work they're being employed to do

We aim to issue the Child Employment Permit within two weeks of receiving the application.

Conditions of the Child Employment Permit


A child can only be employed in accordance with the conditions shown on the Employment Permit. A copy of the permit will be given to the council for the area in which the child goes to school or lives (if that council is different to the one which issued the permit). The child’s school will also be given a copy of the permit and asked to contact the issuing council if the employment is harming the child’s attendance or punctuality.

The permit must be available to be inspected if an authorised inspection officer asks to see it.

We can cancel a Child Employment Permit at any time, if we have reason to believe:

  • the child is being unlawfully employed
  • the child's health, welfare, or ability to take advantage of their education are suffering, or likely to suffer, as a result of their employment

Without a Child Employment Permit, the child won't be able to work.

To find out more email ceel@middlesbrough.gov.uk or visit the National Network for Children in Employment and Entertainment website.