Child employment rules

Employers have to follow rules that say when children can work and the type of work they can do

Rules for employers

All employers have to follow national child employment rules, which protect children's rights.

In Brighton & Hove employers also have to follow local employment laws.

Employers need to apply for permission to employ a child if they want to employ a child of school age.

School age lasts until the last Friday in June of the school year in which the child becomes 16 years old.

Work children can do

A child who is between 13 and 16 years old can:

  • deliver newspapers and leaflets
  • work in a shop, including stacking shelves
  • work in an office
  • do hairdressing
  • work in a café or restaurant, but not in the kitchen 
  • work in hotels and other places offering accommodation
  • do light agricultural or gardening work (but cannot use machinery)
  • wash cars

Work children cannot do

A child who is 13, up to school leaving age cannot:

  • work in a cinema, theatre, or nightclub
  • work in construction or with anything involving dangerous, and heavy machinery
  • sell or deliver alcohol
  • deliver milk
  • deliver fuel oils
  • work in a commercial kitchen
  • collect or sort refuse
  • work 3 metres above ground
  • be exposed to harmful physical, biological, or chemical agents
  • collect money or canvas door to door
  • exposed to adult material
  • do telephone sales
  • work in a slaughterhouse/butcher’s shop
  • assist at a fairground, amusement park or arcade
  • work in bingo halls or any other place for licenced games
  • work in residential care
  • work at a racetrack

When children can work

Children need to be at least 13 years old to work part-time, unless they work in TV, film, theatre or modelling.

Children can't work for more than 4 hours without a break.

Maximum hours children can work are listed below. 

  Age 13 to 14 Age 15 to 16
School days 2 hours 2 hours
Saturdays 5 hours 8 hours
Sundays 2 hours 2 hours
Term time 12 hours per week 12 hours per week
School holidays 5 hours per day

25 hours per week
8 hours per day

35 hours per week

More information

Get more information about child employment and working hours for children from GOV.UK.

For more information or to apply for a child employment licence, please contact the CIEE Officer.