Children in employment and entertainment

Children in employment and entertainment

Information to ensure your child is safe if they work part-time or are involved in entertainment.

There are laws in place to protect children who are of school age and who work part-time or who are involved  in entertainment, sporting activities or modelling.

Here you can find out more information to ensure your child is safe.

Children in employment

Many children enjoy getting a part-time job. This could include being a waitress or waiter, working in a shop, a paper round or working in the family business.

Here you can find information about the law, how to apply for a work permit and advice on the sort of work a child can do.

It is important that a child has a work permit. Without a work permit a child will be working illegally and without insurance

Application for employment permit

What sort of work can a child do?

  • delivering newspapers or leaflets (this should not include collecting money)
  • working in a shop
  • being a waitress or waiter in a cafe or restaurant (there are some restrictions with this type of work)
  • office work (not within a factory environment)
  • shampooing, sweeping up in a hairdressers

This is not a complete list

What sort of work are children not allowed to do?

  • in a commercial kitchen (fish and chip shop)
  • in a factory
  • delivering milk
  • telephone sales
  • preparation of food
  • in a residential care or nursing home providing personal care
  • working in a shop selling alcohol
  • working in a chemist dispensing drugs and medicines
  • a fairground or amusement arcade
  • collecting or sorting of rags or refuse
  • cleaning windows more than 3 meters above the ground
  • work involving exposure to adult content
  • any work which may be described as dangerous

This is not a complete list.

Information for employers

  • the law states that those who employ children are responsible for applying for a work permit for a child of  school age.
  • you can apply for a work permit by downloading the application form for employment permit.
  • you must have Public and Employers Liability Insurance
  • you must prepare a risk assessment for each employee's set of duties and a copy of this must be given to the parent/carer at the time they sign the application form, giving their permission for the child to be employed
  • you must ensure that you train the child for the job and make them aware of any risks which may be involved
  • you must supply the child with any necessary safety equipment and clothing
  • you must not ask any child to undertake work which has not previously been agreed with the Child Employment Office supplying the work permit
  • you must ensure the child's welfare at all times whilst in your employment
  • you should encourage children to let you know if there is anything that is causing them concern

Information for parents

  • always ensure that if your child works they have a valid work permit
  • if your child does not have a work permit then they are illegally employed and are not covered by the employers insurance
  • always ask to see a copy of the risk assessment so that you are fully aware of the duties your child will be undertaking to ensure that your child's safety and welfare have been considered
  • if your child is asked to work hours in excess of those agreed, notify the Child Employment Office
  • remember your child will not be insured if they work outside of the times granted by the Child Employment Office
  • if you feel your child is carrying out duties outside of those agreed or you have concerns about their safety or welfare at the place of employment, then notify the Child Employment Office
  • as the parent or carer you should ensure that your child does not work without a work permit
  • if the Child Employment Office notifies you that the work permit has been revoked, you will be informed of the reason
  • if you allow your child to carry on working without the permit, both you and the employer will be held responsible
  • if your child fails to attend school on a regular basis a work permit will not be issued and your child will be unable to undertake part-time work

Children in entertainment

Children taking part in performances is governed by different acts and regulations. This legislation applies to all children from birth until they leave school.

Application for child licence

Performance Licensing

Children taking part in performances is governed by the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 (sections 37 and 39) and The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014.

This legislation applies to all children from birth until they leave school. A licence must be obtained from the local authority where the child lives if the performance meets ANY ONE of the following criteria:

  • an admission or other charge is made for the performance
  • the performance is taking place on premises licensed for the sale or supply of alcohol
  • the performance is being broadcast, or recorded with a view to its use in a broadcast or in a film intended for public exhibition
  • the child is taking part in paid sport or paid modelling.

The applicant for the licence should be the person responsible for the production of the performance (e.g. theatre show) in which the child is taking part; or the person responsible for organising, or engaging the child in, the activity (e.g. paid modelling).

As the licence holder, that person will be responsible for observing the restrictions and conditions subject to which the licence is granted.

Download: Application Form

Exemption from the Licensing Procedures

A child taking part in a performance to which the legislation applies may be granted an exemption from the licensing procedures if the following conditions are met:

  1. by taking part the child will not have performed on more than 4 days in the 6 months leading up to and including the last date of performance for which the current application is being made (this includes performances for other organisations in the relevant period, but not school productions); AND
  2. no school absence is required for the child to take part in the performance; AND
  3. no payment, except for defraying expenses, is made to the child or any other person in respect of the child's participation.

Alternatively,an exemption may be granted if the performance is arranged by an organisation which has been given Body of Persons approval by the Secretary of State or the local authority in whose area the performance is taking place, subject to conditions (2) and (3) above also being met.

In order to keep a record of the children participating (who may then require a licence for future performances), and because many of the same regulations apply to performances for which a licence is not required, we request an application in these circumstances from the person responsible for the production of the performance.

Download: Exemption application form


A child who has been licensed to take part in a performance has to be supervised at all times by either their own parent (legal guardian) or a local authority approved chaperone.

Please note that grandparents, aunts and uncles, child minders, etc. are NOT legal guardians (unless they are recognised as such by the courts) and therefore need to be approved by a local authority in order to act as the child's chaperone. A parent, unless they are an approved chaperone, cannot be responsible for children other than their own.

While it is good practice for children who have been granted an exemption from the licensing procedures to be supervised by a local authority approved chaperone, this is not a requirement in law.  However, the employment of any adult, if not the child's own parent, to supervise children in such circumstances should comply with the Disclosure and Barring Service guidance on the checks that are required for adults working with children in a "regulated activity".

Those living in Worcestershire who are interested in becoming an approved chaperone can contact the Child Employment and Entertainment Licensing Officer for information about the registration process

To contact the Child Employment and Entertainment Officer please ring 01905 845640 or email

If you wish to make an anonymous report of any concerns regarding a child in employment or entertainment please go to the NNCEE Website.

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