Skip to main content

Child employment rights

Find out when children of school age can legally work and the type of work they can do. Children can only work if they have a valid work permit. Employers are responsible for applying for a child’s work permit.

Child employment

A child is classed as ‘employed’ if they help in any trade or activity that is carried out to make money.

Children are classed as employed even if they are:

  • given something other than money as payment (‘payments in lieu’), such as vouchers for clothing stores
  • working in their family’s business

Hours children can work

No child is allowed to work during school hours and children who are younger than 13 years old are not allowed to work at all.

13 – 14 years old

Children must not work more than 12 hours a week in term time and 25 hours a week during the school holidays.

Term time

  • School days:  no more than 2 hours per day. The 2 hours can either be 1 hour before and 1 hour after school or 2 hours after school
  • Saturdays: 5 hours per day
  • Sundays: 2 hours per day

School holidays

  • Weekdays and Saturdays: Up to 5 hours per day
  • Sundays: 2 hours per day

Other conditions

  • A child can only work between 7am and 7pm even if it’s during the school holidays.
  • Children should be given a 1-hour break after every 4 hours they work. Their employers can choose to give them extra breaks on top of this 1-hour break.
  • Children should have at least 2 consecutive weeks off, during school holidays.

15 – 16 years old

Children must not work more than 12 hours a week in term time and 35 hours a week during the school holidays.

Term time

  • School days: No more than 2 hours per day. The 2 hours can either be 1 hour before and 1 hour after school or 2 hours after school.
  • Saturdays: 8 hours per day
  • Sundays: 2 hours per day

School holidays

  • Weekdays and Saturdays: Up to 8 hours a day
  • Sundays: 2 hours a day

Other conditions

  • A child can only work between 7am and 7pm even if it’s during the school holidays.
  • Children should be given a 1-hour break after every 4 hours they work. Their employers can choose to give them extra breaks on top of this 1-hour break.
  • Children should have at least 2 consecutive weeks off during school holidays.
Help us improve this page Hide content
Top of page