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Employment of children


Many young people of compulsory school age in County Durham have part-time jobs. This can be a positive experience provided that the type of employment is suitable and properly regulated.

We have a statutory duty to regulate employment of young people and this is carried out by the Pupil Casework team in Children and Adults Services.

Child employment is governed by a combination of legislation and the Durham County Byelaw on the Employment of Children 1998.

At what age can a young person be employed?

No child under the age of 13 can be employed. There are only certain permitted types of employment for 13 year olds.

Employment of young people aged 14 years and over

Young people aged 14 and over, and still of compulsory school age, can be employed in any 'light work' provided the type of work is not on the list of prohibited employment. 'Light work' is defined as work which does not adversely affect a young person's health, education or well-being.

Does the young person require a work permit?

All compulsory school age employees must apply to us for a child employment permit within a week of employing a young person of compulsory school age. Employers are responsible for applying for these by forwarding details of the employment to the Child Employment Officer.

What are the permitted times of employment?

Young people cannot take time out of school in order to work (except for work experience arranged by the school, or to take part in entertainment under the conditions of a child performance licence. There are limits on the times and number of hours young people can work, which are listed on our permitted hours of employment page.

Who is responsible for ensuring the employment is legal?

It is the employer's responsibility to make sure they do not contravene child employment regulations. Our legal enforcement policy outlines how we are responsible for the legal enforcement of these regulations and how employers can be prosecuted for failure to comply. The penalty on summary conviction is a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

When can a young person start full-time employment?

Young people cannot be employed full-time until they are no longer of compulsory school age which is the last Friday in June of the academic year in which they reach the age of 16.

Contact us
Child employment
03000 265 907
Our address is:
  • Children and Young People Services
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UJ
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