Isle of Wight Council

Child Employment

Information for parents and young people

There are regulations in force to protect young people whilst in part-time employment. The following is information for parents about the work a child is allowed to do whilst in compulsory education.A child is employed if they assist in any trade or occupation carried on for profit. This applies whether or not the child receives pay or reward. It also applies whether or not the parent is the employer.

  • No child under the age of 13 years of age may be employed.
  • The possession of a National Insurance number does not mean that the child/young person can leave school and work full time.
  • A child remains subject to these regulations until the end of June of Year 11, even if they become 16 years old earlier in that school year

Parents responsibilities

A child must be registered and be issued with a work permit. A parent/legal guardian has a duty in law to act as a responsible parent to ensure your child(ren):

  • is registered with the local authority for the purpose of child employment
  • and that they are fit for the job they are doing

We will only issue a work permit if, as the child’s parent/legal guardian, you have signed the Work Permit Application Form - this shows us you have seen the form, read the employer's risk assessment and are happy for your child to be employed.

Before signing the Work Permit Application Form, check the employer details section that explains the type of work and hours your child will be doing. You should only sign the application form if you are completely happy with all the details of the job they will be doing. Whilst we wish to work closely with employers in child employment, it must be remembered that employers are liable to prosecution if they:

  • do not register their school age employees
  • employ school age children in a prohibited occupation
  • allow school age children to work outside the hours permitted by the byelaws

If your child is working without a permit, they may not be insured against injury should they be involved in an accident whilst at work.

You should monitor your child’s employment to make sure they have a positive experience of work and are not being exploited.

Prohibited Employment

Our byelaws say that no child of any age may be employed as follows:

  • in a cinema, theatre, discotheque, dance hall or night club (unless licensed to perform there)
  • to sell or deliver alcohol except in sealed containers
  • to deliver milk
  • to deliver fuel oils
  • in a commercial kitchen
  • to collect or sort refuse
  • in any work which is more than three metres above ground or in case of internal work more than three metres above floor level
  • in employment involving harmful exposure to physical; biological, or chemical agents
  • to collect money or to sell or canvass door to door
  • in telephone sales
  • in work involving exposure to adult material or situations which are for this reason otherwise unsuitable for children
  • in any slaughterhouse or in that part of any butcher's shop or other premises connected with killing of livestock, butchery, or the preparation of carcasses or meat for sale
  • as an attendant or assistant in a fairground or amusement arcade or in any other premises used for the purpose of the public amusement by means of automatic machines, games of chance or skill or similar devices
  • in the personal care of residents of any residential care home or nursing home.

Preparing your child for work

You can prepare your child for work by:

  • explaining that they will need to do things to a certain standard and within the time set by their employer
  • advising them on how to handle tricky situations

Ways to keep your child safe

You can keep your child safe at work by:

  • Meeting their employer and giving them your contact details before your child starts work.
  • Making sure you know exactly what your child is doing and regularly asking them about their time at work.
  • Making a note of the times they are working.
  • Looking out for any changes in your child’s behaviour, appearance, routine or habits.
  • Reminding them that they do not have to put up with anything they are uncomfortable with and explaining that any form of exploitation or abuse is wrong.

Information for young people

Getting a part time job can be great experience, help you meet new people, gain different skills and earn some money. This will also look good on your CV for future jobs or when you are applying to colleges or university. If your aged between 13 and 16 years old, there are some jobs you cannot do (like serving alcohol), but there are plenty of jobs you can do such as light work in a café, hairdressers, hotels or offices. Your employers have a legal responsibility when they employ you and need to carry out risk assessments to ensure you are working legally and safely.

If you are at school and you want to work, your employer must get you a child employment permit.

To help you to have a positive experience and stay safe at work while earning some money you should read the information on our webpages which explains the hours of work and the types of work you are allowed to do.  Further information is also available from the National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment (NNCEE) website.