We need to know about all children who are of school age and are employed. The work must be suitable and must not affect the child’s health or education.

Employment is any type of paid or voluntary work carried out for any person, organisation or business that can be deemed to be the employer of the child.

If you have any questions of need advice on child employment, email childemployment@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Apply for a permit

Employers must have a child work permit to employ a child

The child work permit shows that the child’s employment has been registered with us and that their employment is legal.

It is against the law to employ a child without a permit. Children who are over 16 and still in year 11 at school also need a permit.

Work experience does not require a child work permit.

How to apply

The person employing the child needs to apply. There are two parts to the application:

  1. The employer starts the application.
  2. The young person’s parent/carer gets an email to authorise the application.

One each part is complete, our licensing team will review the application.

We will issue the permit to the employer by email, with the parent/carer copied in.

Changes to a permit

Permits can be revoked if the job is affecting the child’s attendance or performance at school.

We can advise the employer to make changes to the job if it is affecting school. For example, changing the hours if the child is always late for school.

Once a permit has been issued, if the employment changes you will need to let us know.

Minimum age

The age a child can work

Children have to be 13 to work part time. They can only work a set number of hours and must have a break. See the ‘hours and breaks’ section.

Child employment refers to all children of compulsory school age.

School-aged children are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

Hours and breaks

Children can only work a set amount of hours. It depends on what day of the week it is and whether it is during school term or not.

Children are not allowed to work before 7am or after 7pm or during the school day.

Maximum hours

Type of dayMaximum hours per day - age 13-14Maximum hours per day - age 15+
Saturday5 hours8 hours
Sunday2 hours2 hours
School day

2 hours per day

  • either 1 hour before school and 1 hour after school
  • or 2 hours after school

2 hours per day

  • either 1 hour before school and 1 hour after school
  • or 2 hours after school
School holiday5 hours a day (except Sunday)8 hours a day (except Sunday)
TimeMaximum hours per week - age 13-14Maximum hours per week - age 15+
Term time12 hours12 hours
School holiday25 hours35 hours


Children must have:

  • a break of at least 1 hour after 4 hours work
  • a 2-week break from work during the school holidays.

Jobs allowed

Jobs allowed:

  • agricultural or horticultural work
  • newspaper and printed material delivery including collecting money
  • shop work including shelf stacking
  • hairdressing salons
  • office work
  • riding stables
  • waitressing
  • domestic work in hotels and other buildings offering accommodation.

Babysitting for friends and neighbours is not classed as ’employment’.

Jobs not allowed:

  • delivering fuel oils
  • street trading
  • pub and bar work
  • cleaning/operating machinery
  • collecting money or selling/canvassing door to door unless there is adult supervision
  • delivery of milk
  • collecting or sorting refuse
  • sale of alcohol, except in sealed containers
  • work in a slaughterhouse, or in the preparation of meat or fish for sale
  • telephone sales
  • activities connected with the use of firearms
  • personal care of residents in care homes unless there is adult supervision
  • any work which is more than 3 metres above ground level
  • anything involving harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
  • work involving exposure to adult material or in situations which are for this reason unsuitable for children
  • commercial kitchens
  • fairground and amusement arcades
  • building sites
  • gambling clubs
  • work in a cinema, theatre, discotheque, dance hall or nightclub, except in connection with performance given entirely by children
  • markets (unless employed and directly supervised by a child’s parent in connection with their retail business).

GOV.UK has more information about restrictions on child employment.

Attending school

Children may not work during school hours.

If a child is employed, their education must not suffer. School should be the priority.

Children in entertainment can take part in a licensed performance during the school day.

If you are concerned about a child in employment

If the employer doesn’t have a child work permit they can be fined up to £1,000.

If you have concerns about a child who you believe to be working outside of the legal requirements, please complete the online child employment work referral.

Provide as much information as possible so we can carry out a full investigation. We may contact you during the investigation unless your referral is anonymous.