Children must have a permit to work.

Work permits can't be applied for until a child in question has been offered a job. This is due to needing details of the employer and the proposed occupation to complete the application.

The form must be completed by the employer and signed by the child's parents or guardians. It's the responsibility of the employer to ensure that a work permit is obtained.

The employer must share an assessment of the risks the child may face at work with their parents or guardians. It may be necessary for the child to attend a medical examination by a school medical officer.

A work permit allows the protection of appropriate insurance cover in case of an accident at work.

Information for employers

There are several things employers must do when giving a child a job:

  • you must be mindful of the child's welfare when in their employment. Children should be encouraged to tell someone if work is making them feel anxious or uncomfortable.
  • you shouldn't ask any child to do work which has not previously been agreed with the licensing authority
  • you must have employers' liability insurance.
  • you must consider if the child has been adequately trained for the job and made aware of any risks involved
  • you must supply the child with all the necessary safety equipment and clothing

There are several restrictions on employing children which you can find on the GOV.UK website.

Licences for performances, sport and modelling

The rules governing children in entertainment cover children who take part in 'performances' including all broadcast performances, child photography or modelling.

Any child engaged in these occupations must have a licence. The legislation which demands this licensing is the Children and Young Persons Act 1963, s.37 and the Children (Performance and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014.

The application for a licence must be signed by the child's parents or guardians and accompanied by a photograph. We must be satisfied that arrangements for the supervision and protection of the child are adequate, and that the disruption to the child's education is kept to a minimum.

No licence is required under the following circumstances:

  • no payment is to be made to the child and they have not taken part in performances in the previous six months on more than three days
  • no payment is to be made to the child and the performance is arranged by their school 
  • no payment is to be made to the child and performance exempted by the Secretary of State e.g. scout gang shows
9 November 2023