A guide to child employment

Employers are reminded to ensure they have a valid work permit in place for all children they employ between the ages of 13 and 16 years old.  Work permits are free and valid for 12 months from the date of issue. 

Employers must apply for a work permit within seven days of a child starting work. For further information please contact us using the contact us section. 

The hours of work and conditions of child employment are described by the Children and Young Persons Acts 1933, the Children (Protection at Work) Regulations 1998 and Isle of Wight Council Byelaws on the Employment of Children 1998 (PDF, 1.8KB).

These laws are in place to protect the health, safety, well-being and education of children.  

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that children of compulsory school age have a permit, and are working within the regulations.

Anyone breaking the laws and byelaws covering child employment face a fine of up to £1,000. It is also important to note that if a child is working without a child employment permit, there is a risk that the employer will not be insured against accidents involving the child.

We carry out visits to local employers to make sure that young people in part-time jobs are safe and working legally.

Hours and times that children can work

  • No child of school age can be employed before 7am or after 7pm at any time (even during the school holidays)
  • On school days a child of school age may only work two hours a day (one hour may be before school and one after school, or two hours after school)
  • A child of school age may only work two hours on any Sunday and only between 7am and 7pm
  • Every child must have two consecutive weeks away from work during the school holidays each year

Hours of work for children aged 13 and 14 years

  • Saturdays: five hours a day (maximum of 12 hours in any week)
  • School holidays: five hours a day (maximum of 25 hours in any week)

Hours of work for children aged 15 and 16 years

  • Saturdays: 8 hours a day (maximum of 12 hours in any week)
  • School holidays: 8 hours a day (maximum of 35 hours in any week)

You do not need a permit once a child reaches compulsory school leaving age. This date is the last Friday in June of the school year in which they reach the age of 16 and will have completed GCSE examinations.

Work Experience

Children on work experience placements arranged by their school do not require work permits.

For children who are home educated it is the responsibility of the parent/carer to arrange work experience placements, risk assess and check insurances.. You must be assured your child can carry out work experience safely and with the right level of support and guidance. The employer must evidence to you that they have risk assessed the role and have the appropriate level of insurance required to have your child on their premises; without this information work experience would not be recommended. 

Children receiving Home Education

Child employment legislation applies to all children who are of compulsory school age, regardless of whether they are attending school or receiving home education. 


Employment is defined as working or helping in a trade or occupation carried out for profit, which may or may not involve payment. If a child is volunteering, a work permit could still be required, depending on the volunteer work being carried out. If you are in any doubt, please get in touch using the contact us information on this page.

Information and guidance for employers, parents and children

Please click the links below for more information on the employment of children and young people