Children & Employment
This factsheet outlines the law about the employment of children. In employment legislation, a “child” is defined as anyone of school age. This means that they have not yet reached the last Friday in June in year 11, (unless they are a year or more older than other children in that year). When a child reaches that date they become a “young worker” in law. These regulations do not apply to Work Experience arranged in year 10. Your local council’s Education Welfare Office can tell more about this, and the addresses and telephone numbers of all the main offices in the Greater Manchester area are listed on the back page.
The law about the employment of children is a mixture of national legislation made by the government, and local byelaws which are made by local councils. The national legislation is explained below; your local council’s Education Welfare Officer can advise you on the local bye-laws which apply in your area. It is very important that you contact her/him if you are considering working and you are under school leaving age, because you need to check what kinds of jobs are allowed for someone of your age. You also have to get a work permit, and your employer has to register there too.
The type of work that a child can do depends on how old s/he is. National legislation says that no one under the age of 14 can work. However, your local council may have bye-laws which allow under 14 year olds to do some work. Children under 13 may be allowed to do light, agricultural work, occasionally, with and for their parents. This may be allowed from the age of 10. Local byelaws will explain what work is allowed and what age it is allowed from.
The Council will then check that the job that you have been employed to do is allowed, and that it is safe for you to do. In some cases, they might want you to have a medical examination to make sure that you are fit to do the job. They will then send you a work permit to do that job, which you could be asked to produce by a police officer or other authorised person.This means that if you are injured in an accident at work you won’t get any compensation for it. You also won’t have any employment rights. A child who is legally employed has the same employment rights as an adult worker. Contact the Unit for more information about your rights at work. If your work changes, your employer should inform the Council again.
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