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Child employment rules

It is illegal to employ any child under 13, and limits apply until they reach school leaving age. If a child will be 16 by the end of the summer holidays, their school leaving age is the last Friday in June.

Child employment bylaws

Every school-age child working part-time for an employer must be registered with the local authority and have a work-permit. These rules apply whether children are paid or volunteer and include arrangements where no payment or payment in kind is given, as that is still child employment. It is the employers’ responsibility to apply for a work permit in order to employ the child.

The employer must run a young person’s risk assessment. It should cover any hazards, and employers must have appropriate insurance cover.

Within seven days of the child starting work, the employer must complete a child employment application form. It must be signed by the employer, the child’s parent/guardian and the head teacher. This application gives the hours, place and type of work, as well as child’s details.

Employers are responsible for being fully aware of the child employment legislation, and that they employ any children legally.

The child employment bylaws

No child of any age may be employed:

(a) in a cinema, theatre, discotheque, dance hall or nightclub, except in connection with a performance given entirely by children;

(b) to sell or deliver alcohol, except in sealed containers;

(c) to deliver milk;

(d) to deliver fuel oils;

(e) in a commercial kitchen;

(f) to collect or sort refuse;

(g) in any work which is more than three metres above ground level or, in the case of internal work, more than three metres above floor level;

(h) in employment involving harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents;

(i) to collect money or to sell or canvass door to door, except under the supervision of an adult;

(j) in work involving exposure to adult material or in situations which are for this reason otherwise unsuitable for children;

(k) in telephone sales;

(l) in any slaughterhouse or in that part of any butcher’s shop or other premises connected with the killing of livestock, butchery, or the preparation of carcasses or meat for sale;

(m) as an attendant or assistant in a fairground or amusement arcade or in any other premises used for the purpose of public amusement by means of automatic machines, games of chance or skill or similar devices;

(n) in the personal care of residents of any residential care home or nursing home unless under the supervision of a responsible adult.

Permitted employment of children aged 14 or over

A child aged 14 or over may be employed only in light work.

Permitted employment of children aged 13

A child aged 13 may not be employed except in light work in one or more of the following specified categories:

(a) agricultural or horticultural work;

(b) delivery of newspapers, journals and other printed material, and collecting payment for same, subject to the provisions of byelaw;

(c) shop work, including shelf stacking;

(d) hairdressing salons;

(e) office work;

(f) car washing by hand in a private residential setting;

(g) in a cafe or restaurant;

(h) in riding stables;

(i) domestic work in hotels and other establishments offering accommodation.

Apply for child employment work permits

Employment permits are specific to the child, employer, place of work, as well as the type and hours of work. If a young person has several jobs, each job will need a permit.

To apply for a child’s work permit, please download the child employment permit application form. Then, return it along with one endorsed, recent passport-sized photo of the child. 

For more information, visit The National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment.

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