Child employment and work experience

Employers of school aged children are required by law to apply to their local authority for a child work permit for any child who works for them.

The law applies to all children from birth until completion of compulsory schooling. This is the last Friday in June, during the school year in which the child turns 16.

We monitor and regulate school-aged children in work or work experience.

Please be aware it is the responsibility of employers to ensure that you have read and fully understood the statutory requirements for the child employment permit.

Employers who breach this legislation are risking the safety of young people and can face a fine of up to £1,000. Without a permit, employers are breaking the law and could risk invalidating their insurance.

  • You are expected to apply for a work permit within seven days of offering employment to a child
  • You must wait for a permit to be issued before the child starts working for you
  • You must not employ school age children in a prohibited occupation
  • You must not allow school age children to work outside the hours permitted by the child employment byelaws

Important things to remember

  • All young people in paid work or work experience/volunteering must hold a work permit
  • No child may be employed before 7am or after 7pm on any day
  • No child may work for more than four hours without a break of at least one hour
  • No child can work for more than two hours on a Sunday between the hours of 7am and 7pm
  • During term time, no child can be employed for more than 12 hours per week. There are other guidelines for the number of weekends and hours during holiday times that children can work
  • You are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the children when they are at work and must provide protective clothing where necessary
  • You must carry out a risk assessment and inform the parents of any control measures taken
  • We carry out random checks on workplaces that employ children of school age

Apply for an employment permit for a child

  • The child's parent or guardian will need to sign the form
  • Send the completed form to Southampton City Council, Children in Employment Officer, 1st Floor, North Block, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LY
  • An employment permit may then be issued for the child to carry while working
  • You must wait for a permit to be issued before the child starts working for you

Apply for a child employment permit

Report the illegal employment of a child