Child Employment Permits

The youngest age a child can work part-time is 13, except children involved in areas like television, theatre and modelling where they will require a licence to perform

Between the ages of 13 and 16, children can’t work unless they have a child employment permit.  It is illegal for businesses to employ 13-16 year old children without one.

Who needs to apply for a work permit

The employer should apply to the Child Employment and Performance Licensing Officer for a permit if the child will be working in the London Borough of Sutton.  A permit is for a specific job and cannot be transferred.

What type of work is allowed

13 to 16 year olds can do light work in the following areas:

  • agricultural or horticultural work
  • delivery of newspapers/printed material
  • shop work
  • hairdressing salons
  • office work
  • private car washing by hand
  • café or restaurant – but not in the kitchen
  • domestic work – for example: in a hotel

Types of work not allowed

No child of any age can be employed in the following areas:

  • cinemas or night clubs
  • commercial kitchens
  • collecting or sorting rubbish, rags or scrap metal
  • any work more than three metres above the ground/floor level
  • telephone sales
  • fairgrounds or amusement arcades, as an attendant or assistant

The government has also placed other restrictions on the kind of work that children can do – including health and safety, alcohol licensing and gambling laws. The London Borough of Sutton also has Byelaws regarding what work children are permitted to undertake.

Restrictions on working hours

  • No child may start work before 7am or after 7pm on any day.

Monday to Friday 

  • On a school day, a child may work for 2 hours during either 7am-8am or between the close of school and 7pm.

Saturdays and holidays (maximum 25 hours a week) 

  • under 15s can work five hours a day
  • over 15s can work eight hours a day


  • A maximum of two hours of work

All children must have at least two weeks free during the school summer holidays. For more information, please read this

To apply for a Child Employment Permit, please complete the form here or if you have any questions, please call the Child Employment and Performance Licencing Officer.

Further information

National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment (NNCEE)