Child employment

Children are considered to be employed if they help in any business that operates for profit, 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 in any capacity.

From becoming 13, to the end of their compulsory education, children are allowed to work part-time, subject to certain restraints, including one that prevents children working before 7am or after 7pm. 

You can find specific details about when children are permitted to work, and for how long, in the Guide for Employers and the Guidance on the Employment of Children.

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 and the Guidance on the Employment of Children). There are no such lists for 14, 15 and 16 years olds.

However, there is a comprehensive list of prohibited employment for all age groups (see section 3 of the local byelaws and the Guidance on the Employment of Children).

The same byelaws apply to young people involved in theatre, sporting activities, 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 who are responsible for issuing work permits to children undertaking part-time employment.

We investigate and monitor the employment of young people of compulsory school age to 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 contravening the child employment regulations and we may take action against you

For more information and legislation about children and young people involved in employment and entertainment, check the National Network of Child Employment and Entertainment (NNCEE) website.

Employment permits

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

Where young people have worked for an employer through a work experience programme, they can, in some cases, carry on working for them after the programme finishes, providing the child holds an employment permit. There are some types of employment which can be done under a work experience programme that are prohibited 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 and send it to the Education Welfare Service. Please read our guidance notes before completing the form.

You can't apply online as we need your signature and those of the parents.

Processing your application

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

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

We can only process applications on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons and all day Friday. 

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

What employers need to do

If you employ a child, you are required to:

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

  • carry out health and safety risk assessments when employing children, paying particular attention to their lack of experience in the workplace.

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

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

Contact us

Call: (01226) 773580
Email:admin-educationwelfareservice@barnsley.gov.uk
Write to: Education Welfare Service, PO Box 634, Barnsley, S70 9GG

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

You can also contact the Education Welfare Officer through your child’s school