Work Experience For Children And Young People

What do you need to know about employing children?

Earlier this year The Federation of Small Businesses called for the reintroduction of compulsory work experience for children (which ended in 2012) to help them be 'work ready' when they enter the work environment.

This note is intended as an overview of the main issues that employers and/or schools need to consider when providing work experience opportunities to children and young people.


The law differentiates between a 'child' and 'young person'.

A 'child' is any person of compulsory school age or who is under the minimum school leaving age (i.e. up to the age of 16), as per the Education Act 1996 ('EA'96'). Although young people are required to be in education, training or apprenticeship up to the age of 18, that requirement can be achieved outside of 'school' and has not altered the definition of compulsory school age.

A 'young person' is defined in the EA'96 and the Working Time Regulations 1998 ('WTR'98') as someone over the compulsory school age who has not reached their 18th birthday.

Also 'employment' in this context covers any person who assists in a trade or occupation carried on for a profit, even if they receive no payment (as defined in the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 ('CYPA'33')). This is a wider test than whether the individual is an employee in law, e.g. for the purposes of unfair dismissal and other employment rights.

Accordingly schools will be concerned for any child or young person on its school roll.

Statutory restrictions on the employment of children and young persons

There are various statutory restrictions on the employment of children and young persons covering the following:

Age limits

The general position is that children are not permitted to be in full time employment. Children aged 14 and above can be in part-time employment subject to restrictions, as referred to below.

Children under 13 can undertake performance roles such as modelling or acting where the relevant Local Authority ('LA') has issued the employer a performance licence for that child.

Local Authority ('LA') byelaws (see below) can extend permission for part-time work to children aged 13 and can also extend the type of work and hours of part-time work children aged 13-16 can undertake. An employer will require a child work permit unless offering work experience arranged by a school.

Above compulsory school age there...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT