Group of people logo
Children's licences and permits

Child employment

The Government has produced guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the easing of restrictions.

Although this guidance is not specific to child employees, it is strongly advised that employers read it to assist them in producing risk assessments.

DfE guidance highlights laws that state young people of 16 years or younger should only do “light work which is not harmful to the safety, health or development of children.”

All school-age children will require a child work permit issued by the local authority in order to work, with their employer responsible for applying. Children are of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June of Year 11.

Health and safety

Employers should ensure that their young workers fully understand their responsibilities in the workplace and their role in keeping themselves and others safe. Employers should take account of the age, maturity and any special educational needs of the child when explaining the risk assessment at work.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, an employer has a responsibility to ensure that young people employed by them are not exposed to risk due to:

  • lack of experience
  • being unaware of existing or potential risks and/or
  • lack of maturity.

Hours and tasks

Child employees can only work for the hours granted on your original child work permit unless permission has been given as part of your application. They can also only carry out the work tasks specified on the original permit unless permission has been given for variation. All children must be available to complete schoolwork during school hours.


Your child employee cannot work as a volunteer instead. Children volunteering at any business that is carried on for profit normally requires an employment permit. This may include volunteering for charities. 

Applying for a new permit

Employers will need to submit a fully completed application form. This document should be sent to

Please ensure that all of the relevant paperwork is submitted to avoid delay in issuing the child employment permit.  

Employing children without a permit 

Employing children without a permit is illegal. You can contact us in confidence at if you believe a business is employing a child without a permit.    

We will always try to work with employers to resolve these matters. However, there may be occasions when it is necessary for us to take action to ensure that the health, safety, and wellbeing of children is protected. Ultimately the matter may be referred to the Magistrates’ Court, where the maximum penalty is £1,000 per offence or one-month imprisonment.