Employment of Children

The rules which cover the employment of children under the school leaving age are mainly found in theChildren and Young Persons Act 1933  although there are some rules contained in other Acts and Regulations. In addition, there are rules in local authority bye-laws made under the Act. Many authorities have made bye-laws which broadly follow model bye-laws published by the  Department of Health, although some authorities have departed from it to suit local circumstances. Therefore, employers will always need to check the position about bylaws with their local authority before employing a child. The general view is that the relevant bye-laws are the bye-laws made by the authority where the employment is to take place, not where the child lives. In addition, all other employment legislation, minimum wage, holiday entitlement, etc. will apply. The bye-laws and guidance refer to children under the school leaving age. A child reaches the school leaving age on the last Friday in June in the school year in which the child has their 16th birthday. This means that a child can still be 15 when reaching the school leaving age if their 16th birthday is in the summer holidays. The school leaving age applies whether the child is at an independent or a local authority maintained school. Each local authority has its own bye-laws but, as an example, the following are those made by North Somerset Council: - If you employ children of compulsory school age you are breaking the Law if you have not obtained prior agreement with the North Somerset Education Department. To employ children, you must first obtain a permit. Days and hours of employment Maximum hours allowedAge 13 to 14    Age 15 to 16 On school days between 7 am and start of school 1 1 On school days between close of school and 7 pm 2 2 On Saturdays between 7 am and 7 pm 5 8 On Sundays between 7 am and 7 pm 2 2 During school holidays between 7 am and 7 pm 25 per week 35 per week Children are only permitted to work 12 hours maximum in any school week. Children employed for more than 4 hours continuously must have a rest break of one hour. Children employed in the school holidays must, each year, have a two-week period free from work. An employer is required by law to carry out a risk assessment prior to employing a school child. Official school leaving date: last Friday in June of year 11. There are some jobs that children are not allowed to do. Please contact your local authority for full details. The above are the Bylaws set out by the North Somerset Education Authority. You should contact your local education authority or council for the Bylaws in your area. You can also consult the government’s guidance here.
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