Child employment

Apply for a child work permit

Child work permits

If you live in Newham and your school aged child wants to work, they must have a work permit from Newham.  The law does not allow any school aged child to work without a permit even if the work is unpaid.

Before thinking about applying for a permit, you and the potential employer must read and understand the following information which details the Government’s rules about children working:

Part-time work

The youngest age a child can work part-time is 13, except children involved in areas like:

  • television and film
  • theatre
  • modelling

Children working in these areas will need a performance licence, not a work permit.

Full-time work

Children can only start full-time work once they’ve reached the minimum school leaving age - they can then work up to a maximum of 40 hours a week.

Once someone reaches 16, you may need to pay them through PAYE.

Once someone reaches 18, adult employment rights and rules then apply.

Children are not allowed to work:

  • without an employment permit issued by the education department of the local council
  • in places like a factory or industrial site (unless as part of formal work experience)
  • during school hours
  • before 7am or after 7pm
  • for more than one hour before school 
  • for more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour
  • in any work that may be harmful to their health, well-being or education
  • without having a 2-week break from any work during the school holidays in each calendar year

Paid work for children and young people

Children under 16

School-aged children are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

Children under 16 do not pay National Insurance, so employers only need to include them on your payroll if their total income is over their Personal Allowance.

Once someone reaches 16

Young workers aged 16 to 17 are entitled to at least £5.28 per hour.

If you’re a registered employer, you’ll need to record and report their pay as part of running payroll. If they earn more than £123 a week, you’ll also need to do other regular PAYE tasks like making deductions.

Before their next payday, collect information from them for PAYE. If they started work for you in the previous tax year, put their start date as 5 April in your payroll software. Record their pay for the current tax year only.

If you pay any employee over £123 a week you must be registered as an employer and operate PAYE.

Apply for a child’s work permit

The potential employer, the parent/carer and the child’s school must complete separate questions as part of the application process. When all questions are correctly completed the form must be submitted and then we will consider the application and decide if to issue a work permit.

Apply for a child work permit (Word)

What happens next?

If we refuse the child work permit 

  • The child who the permit was applied for cannot take up the work – even if it is unpaid.

If we agree to issue the child work permit we will

  • Issue a work permit and a letter to the employer only for the job on the application form. 
  • Notify the parent/carer in writing.

Note: we may inspect the workplace and speak to the employer at any time. Then we issue a report and let all parties know if there are any problems.