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Child employment licence

There are laws governing the employment of school aged children.

Young people of school age can legally be employed 

  • At age 13 and above
  • In certain types of work and for restricted hours – see below
  • If they have a licence issued by the local authority.

Who can apply for a licence?

  • It is the employer's responsibility to notify the local authority and to apply for a licence
  • Young people and parents can also download an employment licence application form below.

Jobs a young person of school age is allowed to do

At age 13, young people are allowed to do light work in the following areas:

  • Agriculture or horticultural businesses (occasional and only under direct supervision of a parent/guardian)
  • Newspaper delivery
  • Shop work including shelf stacking
  • Hairdressing salons
  • Office work
  • Cafes or restaurants (front of house only)
  • Riding stables, kennels and catteries
  • Domestic work in hotels
  • Car washing in private residential settings.

Young people aged 14 and over can also do other light work

  • which is not harmful to their safety, health and development
  • which does not interfere with the school day

Work that young people of school age are not allowed to do

  • Cinema, theatre or night club
  • Commercial kitchen
  • Slaughter house, butchery or place preparing meat for sale
  • Fairground, amusement arcade or premises with game and gambling machines
  • Collect or sort refuse
  • Work more than 3 metres off the ground or with harmful chemicals
  • Work where there is access to adult material unsuitable for children
  • Be responsible for the personal needs of residents in care or nursing homes
  • Sell or deliver alcohol (except in sealed containers)
  • Deliver milk or fuel oils
  • Collect money, sell or canvass door to door or by telephone.

How many hours can a young person work?

Children aged 13/14

Daily limit Number of hours
School days 2 hours
School holidays (Monday to Friday) 5 hours
Saturday 5 hours
Sunday 2 hours
Weekly limit Number of hours
School term 12 hours
School holidays 25 hours


Children aged 15/16

Daily limit Number of hours
School days 2 hours
School holidays (Monday to Friday) 8 hours
Saturday 8 hours
Sunday 2 hours
Weekly limit Number of hours
School term 12 hours
School holidays                                 35 hours

A child must have a one hour break after four hours work. Any additional breaks are at the discretion of the employer.

Young people cannot work

  • Before 7am or after 7pm on any day of the week
  • For more than 2 hours on a school day
  • For more than 2 hours on a Sunday
  • For more than 12 hours per week during school term time
  • For more than 4 hours without a break of one 1 hour.

They must have a break of at least two consecutive weeks during school holidays.

What is the employer's responsibility?

  • To check that the young person is of compulsory school age and ensure the young person is licensed by the local authority in the area where the work is.
  • To complete a risk assessment to ensure the young person's health and safety
  • To ensure they hold valid employer's liability insurance.

How to apply for a licence

Download an application form below and return it to us.