Child employment and permits

Southampton City Council works with employers to offer opportunities to children and young people in the city and to achieve the best outcomes, including working in partnership with the Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton (HIPS) Partnership. We are also a member of the National Network for Children in Employment and Entertainment (NNCEE) and liaise with our regional Local Authority partners.

All employers, other than not for profit organisations, who employ school aged children are required by law to apply to their local authority for a child employment permit for any child who works for them. Children aged under 13 are not permitted to undertake any form of employment. Southampton City Council monitors and regulates all school-aged children in employment.

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

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

Children and young people can undertake employment in a range of occupations, from working in a cafe, to a swimming pool assistant. It is important for children to be able to have the opportunity to experience working, and we want to work in partnership with employers to ensure this is carried out following the correct procedures in line with legislation ensuring the safety of all children and young people.

Important things to remember

  • All young people in paid employment or 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 varying restrictions relating to the hours children can work during school holidays depending on their age, please see the byelaws or application form for further detail
  • You as the employer are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the children when they are at work and must provide protective clothing and suitable equipment where necessary
  • Employers must carry out a risk assessment and inform the parents/carers of any control measures taken, the child must also be talked through this risk assessment at induction
  • Southampton City Council may carry out random checks on workplaces that employ children of school age, you will be expected to present the child's work permit upon inspection
  • No child shall be in employment whilst they are absent from education
  • Employers must have appropriate insurance in place, outlining that a child is employed in the workplace
  • You must not employ children in a prohibited occupation, as outlined in the child employment byelaws

Employers who breach child employment legislation can face a fine.

Apply for an employment permit for a child

The child's parent or guardian will need to sign the form. The completed form should then be emailed to

The child's attendance and safeguarding will be considered when applying for a permit and employment should not commence until the permit has been issued.

An employment permit may then be issued for the child to carry while working. The employer should hold a copy of this permit.

Please note

From 1 December 2022, paper applications by post will no longer be accepted and will be rejected. To prevent any delay, please ensure they are sent electronically to

Apply for a child employment permit

If you have concerns about a child in employment contact us to report a concern

Work experience

If your child wishes to undertake work experience, please contact their education setting to discuss this further. The setting will undertake relevant checks to ensure that it is a safe and appropriate work experience placement.

If you are electively home educated and do not have a provider to undertake work experience checks, please contact us to discuss further.

For further information regarding child employment, please contact the Child Employment and Performance Officers, via

Child Employment Month

April is the National Child Employment Raising Awareness Month.

This is an annual event where Local Authorities across the UK will highlight the law with regards to children of compulsory school age in employment.

Southampton City Council are looking at ways to raise awareness in conjunction with employers, if you would like to be involved in this as an employer, please contact us at

Read further information on Child Employment Month.