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Child employment


The child must be at least 14 years old to be employed, and there are strict restrictions on the hours and conditions for this. These restrictions can be varied by local by-laws to a certain degree. Such by-laws would vary depending on the type of trade and age of the child. It is possible that the local authority will have a by-law which states that children under 13 can do light agricultural and horticultural work for their parents or guardians. To see if any such by-laws exist in your area please contact your local authority, using the link within related information.

The main restrictions are as follows:

  • must not work during school hours
  • must not work for more than two hours on a school day
  • not work for more than 12 hours during a school week (1 hour between 7am and 830am and 1 hour between end of school and 7pm or 2 hours between end of school and 7pm)
  • not for more than 2 hours on a Sunday (between 7am and 11am)
  • not for more than 5 hours a day if he/she is under 15 years old on any day that is not a school day and not a Sunday (Saturday and school holidays)
  • not for more than 8 hours a day if he/she is over 15years old and over on any day that is not a school day and not a Sunday (Saturday and school holidays)
  • for more than 35 hours in a week if he/she is aged 15 and over
  • for not more than 25 hours in a week if he/she is under 15
  • he must have at least two consecutive weeks off in any year during which he/she does not work and is not at school.


The Government sets a minimum amount you must get paid on average for the hours you work. This is called the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage, if you're aged 25 or over.

The minimum wage has been extended to cover 16-17 year olds, however there is no minimum wage for children under that age. See the linked question on restrictions on hours for children and also the link to the Government's website for the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates.


There are restrictions on street trading and busking for young children, they are not permitted to do it unless the local authority has a by-law which permits them to be employed in street trading whilst employed for their parents or guardians. It is best to contact your local authority if you wish to employ your child in street trading or busking .

The child must not be employed in a job that is harmful to the safety, health and development of the child and it must not interfere with school attendance or work experience. Also the child must not be employed to lift, carry or move anything so heavy as to be likely to cause injury.


A person under the age of 18 can work in a bar, as long as they are supervised continually by a responsible person, such as the licence holder or bar manager. They cannot sell alcohol unless every sale is authorised by an adult.

Normal employment law applies to children working, see question in related information for further details.

Protecting children from harm is one of the primary objectives in licensing law and local authorities can impose additional conditions to premises banning children altogether, if it is considered necessary.

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

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