Child employment

Children are considered to be employed if they help in any business that operates for profit. This applies even it's run by their parents, and whether they're paid or not. 

It's illegal for anyone, including parents and guardians, to employ children under the age of 13. It does not matter what the job is.

From becoming 13, to the end of their compulsory education, children can work part-time. This is subject to certain restraints, including one that prevents children working before 7am or after 7pm. Please refer to the child employment guidance. This will give details of what is and isn't allowed.

You can find details about when children are permitted to work, and for how long, in the guide for employers. You can also find more details on the government website.

Types of work that young people are allowed to do

There are nine permitted types of employment just for 13 year olds. See section 5 of the local byelaws for more details. There are no such lists for 14, 15 and 16 years olds.

There's a full list of jobs that can't be done for all age groups. See section 3 of the local byelaws and the NNCEE guidance on child employment. You can also download the DCSF Guidance on Employment of Children 2009.

The same byelaws apply to young people involved in theatre, sports, modelling, and film and television performances.  

All child employment must be registered with the council where the employment takes place. 

In Barnsley, registration must take place through the Education Welfare Service. They issue work permits to children who are in part-time employment.

We investigate and monitor the employment of young people of compulsory school age. We make sure that it's legal and safe and that it doesn't damage or interrupt their education.

If you employ a child of school age without an employment permit, you're breaking the child employment regulations. We may take action against you if this happens.

Browse the National Network of Child Employment and Entertainment (NNCEE) website for more details and legislation in this area.

Employment permits

Children don't need a national insurance number to work part-time as they're not taxed. They must hold an employment permit to make the work legal.

Young people that have worked through a work experience programme may be able to carry on working after it finishes. This only occurs in some cases and they'll also need an employment permit. Some types of employment can be done under a work experience programme that is not allowed under Child Employment Law.

Applying for an employment permit

If you want to employ a child of school age, you need to download and fill in our application for a work permit. You should then email it to

Please note, we don't accept applications sent by post.

Processing your application

If your application meets all the requirements, we'll issue an employment permit. It'll confirm that the child is registered for work. It'll also list their details, your details, and the place and hours of work.

We'll send the permit and covering documents to the parents. We'll also send copies to you and the child's school.

Any applications received after 3.30pm will be acknowledged the next working day.

What employers need to do

If you employ a child, you're required to:

  • make sure that the child has their permit with them in case their employment status is questioned.

  • carry out health and safety risk assessments when employing children. They should pay special attention to their lack of experience in the workplace.

  • notify the parent or guardian of the child that the proper checks have been done.

Our Environmental Services or Health and Safety Executive can offer more advice on carrying out risk assessments.

Contact us

Call: (01226) 773580

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5pm and Fridays 8.30am to 4.30pm