Child Employment and Children in Entertainment

The Child Employment Team are responsible for:

  • issuing work permits for children who have part-time jobs
  • issuing performance licences for children to take part in entertainment
  • approving chaperones to look after children in entertainment

The Child Employment Team covers the whole of Hampshire  - excluding the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth.

Child employment

Child employment and the law

The hours of work and conditions of child employment are described by the Children and Young Persons Acts 1933 and 1963, the Children (Protection at Work) Regulations 1998 and Hampshire County Council Byelaws on the Employment of Children 1998

These laws are to protect the health, safety, well-being and education of children.

At what age children can work

Children may do light work from the age of 13 years until they are no longer of compulsory school age.

Light work means work which is not likely to be harmful to the safety, health or development of children and is not harmful to their attendance at school or participation in work experience.

Permitted work for 13 year olds

Children aged 13 years are allowed to be employed in light work in one or more of the following specified categories:

  • light agricultural or horticultural work, provided this is only on an occasional basis and under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian
  • delivery of newspapers, journals and other printed material
  • domestic work in hotels and other establishments offering accommodation
  • car washing (by hand in a private residential setting)
  • in a cafe or restaurant
  • shop work
  • hairdressing salons
  • office work
  • in riding stables

List of Prohibited Employment

No child of any age may be employed:

  • in a cinema, theatre, discotheque, dance hall or night club (except in connection with a performance given entirely by children or under the terms and conditions of a performance licence)
  • to sell or deliver alcohol, except in sealed containers
  • to deliver milk
  • to deliver fuel oils
  • in a commercial kitchen
  • to collect or sort refuse
  • in any work which is more than 3 metres above ground or internal floor level
  • in employment involving harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
  • to collect money or to sell or canvass door to door
  • in work involving exposure to adult material or in situations which are for this reason otherwise unsuitable for children
  • in telephone sales
  • in any slaughterhouse or in any part of a butcher's shop or other premises connected with the killing of livestock, butchery, or the preparation of meat for sale
  • as an attendant or assistant in a fairground or amusement arcade or in any other premises used for the purpose of public amusement by means of automatic machines, games of chance or skill or similar devices
  • in the personal care of residents of any residential care home or nursing home

Other legislation prohibits children's employment e.g. in industrial undertaking and street trading

A young person is of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June in the school year in which they reach the age of sixteen years.

Employment permits

Employers are required by law to register any children who work for them (whether paid or unpaid).

They must complete an Application for Employment Form, which the parent of the child must also sign. This then needs to be emailed to the Child Employment Office at A Employment Permit will then be issued accordingly.

Wherever possible we will email the work permit to the employer and or parent to print and pass onto the child.

An employer can be prosecuted for employing a child illegally. In addition, the insurance which the employer must have for his employees may not be valid.

Permitted hours of work

Employment may only take place between 7am and 7pm.

Hours of work for Children aged 13 and 14 years

  • 2 hours on Sundays
  • 2 hours on school days (either one hour before and one hour after school, or two hours after school)
  • 5 hours on Saturdays
  • Maximum 12 hours per week during term time
  • 5 hours daily during school holidays but not to exceed 25 hours per week

Hours of work for Children aged 15 years old, until they are no longer of Compulsory School Age

  • 2 hours on Sundays
  • 2 hours on school days (either one hour before and one hour after school, or two hours after school)
  • 8 hours on Saturdays
  • Maximum 12 hours per week during term time
  • 8 hours daily during school holidays but not to exceed 35 hours per week

Any child employed must have a rest break of not less than one hour following four hours of continuous employment and during the year have at least two consecutive weeks in the school holidays which are free from work.

A young person is of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June in the school year in which they reach the age of 16 years.

This information is only a general guide.

Employers and parents must consult the relevant legislation for assistance with specific queries.

For further information contact the Child Employment Office.

Apply for a work permit

Application for the employment of a child

We require a copy of your General Risk Assessment before issuing a Work Permit. Please scan and email this document to us along with a fully completed Application Form.

If you would like to receive this document in an alternative format contact the Child Employment Office.

Children in entertainment

This includes theatre performances, modelling and paid sporting activities.

Documents to download

Hampshire County Council will endeavour to issue a performance licence within 10 working days where resources allow. The responsible person MUST submit a completed and legible application NOT less than 21 days before the First Performance for which the licence is requested. Hampshire County Council may legally refuse to consider an application if the date of the performance or activity is less than 21 days. A complete application MUST include Part 1 & Part 2, submitted as a whole signed document and not in two parts. The Applicant’s Child Protection Policy, general Risk Assessment, Copy of the Child’s Birth Certificate, an Authorisation of Absence School Letter, where applicable, and a clear photo of the child is also to be submitted with the Application Form. It is the responsibility of the Applicant or Agent to chase up incomplete, missing or illegible paperwork. Please note, for Safeguarding reasons, notification alone will not constitute an application within the deadline, therefore incomplete or part applications will be automatically deleted.


Contact the Child Employment Office if you wish to chaperone children in either a professional or amateur capacity. This applies to children requiring performance licences only.

In line with legislation & Department for Education guidance the Local Authority will only approve chaperones for children who require a performance licence.

There is also no requirement for the LA to approve chaperones for productions that have been given a Body of Persons Approval (BOPA).

Chaperone applications will not be considered if children do not require a performance licence.

These are guidelines only. If you require more detailed information please contact The Child Employment Office, or refer to:
  • Children and Young Persons Act 1963, s.37
  • The Children (Performance and Activities)(England) Regulations 2014

For further information about the role of chaperone and associated guidelines see the Hampshire Chaperone Handbook.


For further information and advice contact:

The Child Employment & Entertainment Office
The Parkway
94-96 Wickham Road
PO16 7JL