19 November 2021 Children and learning

If you’re employing a school aged child, you must have a licence

The Christmas season is usually the busiest time of year for shops and restaurants and a time when businesses are likely to take on additional staff. This can create a good opportunity for a young person to secure their first job, learn new skills and earn money. 

Children need to be at least 13 years old to work part-time, unless they work in TV, film, theatre or modelling and employers need to apply for a child employment licence if they want to employ a child of school age (between 13-16). 

Child employment licences are free

In Brighton & Hove, child employment licences are free and applications should be made to the council before the child starts work. Anyone found employing a child without a licence is liable to a fine of up to £1,000. 

A young person is ‘employed’ when they assist with any business which is carried out for profit, whether paid or not.  

Different types of work 

Jobs that someone from 13 – school leaving age can do include:

•    delivering newspapers and leaflets
•    working in a shop, including stacking shelves
•    working in an office
•    doing hairdressing
•    working in a café or restaurant, but not in the kitchen 
•    working in hotels and other places offering accommodation
•    washing cars

By law, children are not allowed to undertake certain types of work including: 

•    working in a cinema, theatre, or nightclub
•    selling or delivering alcohol
•    working in construction or with anything involving dangerous, and heavy machinery
•    working in a commercial kitchen
•    assisting at a fairground, amusement park or arcade
•    working in bingo halls or any other place for licensed games
•    working in residential care

Work experience

The council’s access to education manager says: “A part-time job can be a great way for a young person to experience what's involved in working in a particular sector and decide whether or not it’s for them. It’s also a chance to meet new people and boost confidence that can help in securing employment when they’ve left school.

“However it’s really important that this is done properly. A child’s welfare and safety is of paramount importance and proper support must be in place when these opportunities are made available. 

Contact our licensing team

“Getting a child employment licence is a quick, easy and free process and it’s essential that employers have them in place if they are offering these roles. 

"Our licensing team is here to ensure employers act responsibly and the rights of young people are protected”.  

Apply for a child employment licence

Get more information about child employment and working hours for children on the GOV.UK website