Children in employment

Children in employment

Children can be employed in certain occupations from 13 to 16 years old.

It’s illegal to employ a child without a work permit.

Children under the age of 13 can’t be employed.

If your child takes part in a licensed performance, they must be supervised by a responsible adult known as a chaperone.

How to apply for a work permit for a child

As a parent or guardian, you and your child’s employer must fill in the work permit application form. There is no charge for this.

We'll send a copy of the work permit to the employer, your child’s school and you for the job stated on the application form.

You must let us know if your child leaves this job. They’ll need a new work permit if they want to work for another employer.

We may inspect the workplace and speak to the employer. We’ll write a report and let you know if there are any problems.

Hours of work allowed for children working part time (pdf, 99KB) (opens new window)

Work that children aren’t allowed to do

Your child isn’t allowed to:

  • work in an industrial setting  like a factory
  • work in a cinema, theatre, disco, dance hall or night club except in connection with a performance given entirely by children
  • sell or deliver alcohol unless it is in sealed containers
  • deliver milk
  • deliver fuel oils
  • work in a commercial kitchen
  • collect or sort rubbish, recycling or other waste
  • work more than 3 metres above ground level or, in the case of indoor work, more than 3 metres above floor level
  • work in employment involving harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
  • collect money, sell or canvas door to door unless they’re with an adult
  • work where they would be exposed to adult material
  • work in telephone sales
  • work in a slaughterhouse, butcher’s shop or anywhere that involves preparing meat for sale
  • work in a fairground, amusement arcade or anywhere the public can play automatic machines, games of chance or skill or similar devices 
  • give personal care to people in residential care or nursing homes

Children in entertainment and sport

Your child may need a licence to: 

  • perform on stage, in television, film or commercial work
  • take part in paid or professional sport
  • work as a model

If your child performs on stage, television, film or in commercials, they can perform without a licence for up to four days but only if:

  • the performance is unpaid
  • they don’t need time off school
  • they haven’t performed in the last six months

The production company or agency will need to apply for the licence.

Child Performance and Activities Licence Application Form

Email your completed licence application to:

Any licence applications with less than 21 days’ notice must be discussed with Julie Griffin or Paul Harse who can be contacted on 0117 352 1438.


The duties of a chaperone (pdf, 71KB) (opens new window)

Information for chaperones and licence holders (pdf, 350KB) (opens new window)

Contact our Child Employment and Licensing Officer on 0117 352 1438  find out about becoming a chaperone.

Contact information

Education Welfare Service (CH)

PO Box 3399

Bristol City Council

Bristol, BS1 9NE

Opening Hours

A duty Welfare Officer is available to answer queries.


Tel: 0117 352 1438