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.


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.