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Hertfordshire County Council


Employers must apply for a permit for a school aged child to work for them in Hertfordshire.

A school aged child is defined as being between 13-16 years old. They're no longer legally classed as a school-aged child from the last Friday in June in the academic year in which they reach 16.

It's illegal to employ a child in paid or unpaid work:

  • if they're under 13
  • outside the permitted hours of employment
  • if the child doesn't have a work permit (unless they're doing babysitting, volunteering as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme or undertaking work experience organised by the child's school)
  • for more than 2 hours on a school day or a Sunday
  • unless it's 'light work'
  • on a self-employed basis.

What can I employ a child to do?

There are certain jobs that children aged 13-16 are not allowed to do. Other jobs are only allowed to be done under 'light working' conditions.

Light working is work that will not:

  • be harmful to the safety, health or development of the child
  • affect their school attendance
  • affect participation in work experience.

Work you can't employ a child to do

It is illegal to employ a child to work:

  • in a cinema, theatre, disco, dance hall or night club
  • selling or delivering alcohol (except in sealed containers)
  • delivering milk
  • delivering fuel oils
  • in a commercial kitchen (except washing up or waiting)
  • collecting or sorting refuse
  • in any job 3 metres above the ground inside or outside
  • in a job involving dangerous exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
  • in a job involving exposure to adult material or in situations unsuitable for children
  • in telephone sales
  • in any slaughterhouse or butchers shop
  • in a gambling environment
  • in the personal care of residents of any care home or nursing home.

'Light work' you can employ a 13 year old to do

You can only employ a 13 year old in 'light work' to:

  • do agricultural or horticultural work (under the supervision of their parent or guardian)
  • deliver newspapers, journals and other printed materials
  • work in a shop
  • work in hairdressing salons
  • do office work
  • wash cars in a private residential setting
  • work in a cafe or restaurant
  • work in riding stables
  • clean in hotels and other establishments offering accommodation.

Hours of work for a child

Children can only work between 7am and 7pm.

13 and 14 year olds can work:

  • 2 hours a day during term time
  • 5 hours on a non school day
  • 2 hours on a Sunday
  • 12 hours a week during school term
  • 25 hours a week in school holidays.

15 and 16 year olds can work:

  • 2 hours a day during term time
  • 8 hours on a non school day
  • 2 hours on a Sunday
  • 12 hours a week during school term
  • 35 hours a week in school holidays.

After working 4 hours, children should get a 1 hour break.

Children are only allowed to work 1 hour before a school day begins.

Employment byelaws

Read our employment byelaws leaflet for further information on employing a child.


Read our  School Age Employment and Work Permit Guidance for further information on the laws covering the employment of school age children in Hertfordshire, the safeguarding responsibilities of Hertfordshire County Council, and the roles of employers; parents; schools and other partners.

Our Helpful guide for young people leaflet has all the information you'll need if you're 13–16 and are working whilst in statutory education.

Read our Privacy Notice on Work Permit Applications for School Aged Children for details about why we need your information, what we will do with it, how long we will keep it and what your rights are.

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