Child employment

No child under the age of 13 can be employed.

Young people may take on a job such as delivering newspapers or working in a shop on Saturdays, but there are laws and rules to be observed to ensure their education does not suffer and that they are safeguarded whilst at work.

When a child is considered to be employed
Certificates and licences needed
Types of work children can't do
Working hours
Apply for an employment certificate
Employer's responsibilities

When a child is considered to be employed

A child is employed if they assist in any trade or occupation carried out for profit. It does not matter whether the child is paid or not for the work done. This includes working for a parent or relative.

Certificates and licences needed

If a child is of school age and has a part time job, they need an employment certificate.

If the child is going to perform on stage, in television, film or commercials or to work in paid or professional sport or as a model, they will need a child performance licence.

Types of work children can't do

There are several restrictions on where children are allowed to work.

Children are not allowed to:

  • Deliver milk
  • Work in a commercial kitchen
  • Sell or deliver alcohol, except in sealed containers
  • Collect money or canvas door to door
  • Be involved in the preparation of meat for sale
  • Work in the bar of licensed premises
  • Work in a factory
  • Operate machinery
  • Drive or ride on a vehicle, including agricultural implements
  • Be involved in the personal care of residents in a care or nursing home

This is not a complete list. If you have any doubt about the kind of employment you are offering a child please seek our advice.


Babysitting is not considered employment. However, the Children’s Legal Centre and the NSPCC recommend that the minimum age of a babysitter should be 16 years of age. 

Working hours

Young people cannot work:

  • During school hours
  • More than 12 hours in any school week
  • Before 7am or after 7pm
  • More than two hours on a school day. Either two hours after school or one hour before and one hour after school
  • More than two hours on a Sunday
  • More than five hours on Saturdays and holidays for 13 and 14 year olds or eight hours for 15 and 16 year olds
  • More than 25 hours per week in school holidays for 13 and 14 year olds or 35 hours for 15 and 16 year olds 

All young people must have a one hour break after four hours and must have two consecutive weeks holiday from any employment during school holiday time.

Apply for an employment certificate

You must apply for a certificate of employment within 7 days of the young person starting work. 

To apply for a certificate you and the young person's parent or guardian must complete the application form and return it the Child Employment and Entertainment Team.

Download application form (DOCX 162 KB)

Employer's responsibilities

You must ensure that relevant insurance cover is provided.

You must undertake a comprehensive risk assessment of the work involved and make the findings known to the parent/guardian.

You must ensure that suitable clothing and footwear are worn by the young person.

The part-time employment of pupils in Lancashire is governed by the Children (Protection at Work) Regulations 1998 and the county council’s Employment of Children Byelaws (PDF 72KB).


If you have any questions contact the Child Employment and Entertainment Team:

Tel: 01772 531799