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If your child has a weekend job, holiday job, or works before or after school they must have a work permit.


If a child is of compulsory school age and wants to work, they must have a work permit, issued by Devon County Council. A child is of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June in the school year they reach the age of 16.


Employment means working or helping in a trade or occupation which may or may not involve payment.


The law is designed to protect children. Children working without a permit are employed illegally and may not be covered by their employers’ insurance. This has serious implications for children who are injured at work, or have property damaged or stolen. Your child’s employer is legally responsible for applying for the permit. If they fail to get a permit they could be prosecuted and fined.


  • The employer has to make sure that each child:

  • has a work permit

  • only works the hours stated on thework permit

  • only carries out the employment stated on the work permit

  • has adequate and appropriate clothing for the work they are doing

  • is in a good state of health for the work they are doing.


What work is my child allowed to do?


No child under the age of 13 years may be employed.

Children aged 13 may only be employed in light work in:


  • agricultural or horticultural work

  • delivery of newspapers or journals

  • shop work

  • a hairdressing salon

  • office work

  • car washing - by hand in a private residential setting

  • a café or restaurant

  • a riding stables

  • domestic work in hotels.


Children aged 14 and over may be employed in any light work provided it is not on the List of Prohibited Employment.


What is the List of Prohibited Employment?


No child of compulsory school age may be employed:


  • in a cinema, theatre or club

  • to sell or deliver alcohol, except in sealed containers

  • to deliver milk or fuel oils

  • in a commercial kitchen

  • to collect or sort refuse

  • in work more than three metres above ground or, for internal work, three metres above floor level

  • in jobs involving harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents

  • to collect money or to sell or canvass door to door

  • in telephone sales

  • in a slaughter house, butcher’s shop or other place connected with the killing or butchering or live stock or the preparation of meat for sale

  • as an attendant or assistant in a fairground, amusement arcade or any place used for the purpose of public amusement by automatic machines or games of chance or skill

  • in the personal care of residents of any residential home or nursing home.


What hours can my child work?


No child may start work before 7am or finish later than 7pm.

From age 13 until their official school leaving date:


  • on school days a child may work one hour before school and up to two hours after school - they must not work more than two hours in a day

  • on Sundays they may work up to two hours only in term time or in schools holidays

  • on other none school days children aged 13 and 14 can work for a total of five hours and must have a one hour break after three hours continuous work

  • on other none school days children aged 15 and over can work for a total of eight hours and must have a one hour break after four hours continuous work.


During term time 13-16 year olds (until their official school leaving date) can work a maximum of 12 hours a week.


During school holidays 13 and 14 year olds can work a maximum of 25 hours a week. Children aged 15 and over can work a maximum of 35 hours a week.


All totals include Saturday and Sunday working.


If you:


  • want more information

  • are concerned that your child is working illegally

  • are concerned that your child is being unfairly treated

  • want a work permit application form


Contact the Education Welfare Officer responisible for Child Employment on01392 384713 or email


Tap here to download a Work Permit Application Form.