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Protecting children’s rights in the workplace

Staffordshire County Council is reminding businesses that employ children between 13 and 16 years old that they need permits to comply with employment laws.

The reminder, which comes ahead of Child Employment Awareness Month during April, is to ensure the welfare of children is protected if they are taking part in part-time work opportunities, and that their needs are being met by employers.

Permits are free of charge, and need to be obtained from the local council where the place of employment is.  Businesses found employing children without a permit could face prosecution.

No child below the age of 13 is allowed to work in England unless they are taking part in a performance and have a performance licence.

Under byelaws regulating the employment of children, teenagers aged between 13 and 16 years old can take part in light work in a number of different areas including: shop work, office work and working in cafes, restaurants, car washing and riding stables.

No child may be employed before 7am or after 7 pm on any day.  No child may work for more than 4 hours without a break of at least 1 hour and no child can work for more than 2 hours on a Sunday between the hours of 7am and 7pm.

During term time, no child can be employed for more than 12 hours per week and there are also other guidelines for the number of weekends and hours during holiday times that children can work.

County Councillor Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said:

“We understand that some young people will want to start part-time work as early as they can, but it is important that their rights are protected.  There are byelaws governing what they can and can’t do in terms of employment, in order to ensure their welfare is being protected and they are working safely.  There’s lots of information on our website about employing young people, so I would urge all local businesses to take a look and ensure they are complying with the law.”

Employment permits are available free of charge from the county council, and more information can be found at www.staffordshire.gov.uk.  Just search for ‘child employment.’