Child employment rights

Types of work for children

Work that children are allowed to do

Children aged 13 years old can do light jobs in the following:

  • agriculture or horticulture
  • newsagents – delivery of newspapers, magazines, etc.
  • shop work including stacking shelves
  • hairdressers
  • office work
  • car washing by hand at someone’s home
  • café or restaurant
  • riding stables
  • domestic work in hotels or other places offering accommodation

Children aged 14 years old and above can do light work in any of the above areas, as well as light work in other jobs - as long as it isn’t work in areas they’re not allowed to work in.

Children doing babysitting for relatives, friends or neighbours are not classed as employed, as it is outside of child employment regulations.

Work that children aren’t allowed to do

Children are not allowed to do any work that involves:

  • heavy, physical work
  • using dangerous or complicated machine
  • putting children at ‘moral risk’ such as involving adult material

Children cannot be employed doing any of the following:

  • selling cigarettes or medicines
  • selling or delivering alcohol – except in sealed containers
  • gambling work
  • collecting money or door-to-door sales
  • preparing meat for sale in a butchers or slaughter house
  • collecting or sorting rubbish
  • delivering milk or fuel oils
  • any work that involves working 3 metres above the ground
  • driving or riding a motor vehicle, including those used in agriculture
  • personal care of residents in a care or nursing home - unless under the supervision of an adult

Places children aren’t allowed to work

Children cannot work in the following places:

  • nightclubs
  • garages
  • amusement arcades or fairgrounds
  • warehouses or factories
  • kitchens in a restaurant or café
  • on the streets
  • theatre, cinema, disco, television studio - unless licenced to perform there
  • telesales centres

The Work Permit gives a full list of places children aren’t allowed to work or jobs they aren’t allowed to do.

If you are in any doubt about your child’s employment, please contact our Child Performance and Employment Team to get our advice.