Working part-time while you're at school

No-one under the age of 13 is allowed to have a job 

After your 13th birthday you may have a job. It must be part-time and outside school hours. There are limitations on the type of work you can do and how much time you can spend at it. If you have a job, you must get a work permit from the council.

Types of work allowed

Examples of work usually approved:

  • newspaper delivery
  • shop work
  • office work
  • light cleaning
  • washing up

Types of work never allowed:

  • cinema, theatre, disco, dancehall, night club (except in performances given entirely by children)
  • selling or delivering alcohol, except in sealed containers 
  • delivering milk
  • delivering fuel oils
  • working in a commercial kitchen
  • collecting or sorting refuse
  • any work more than 3 metres above ground level or, in the case of indoor work, more than 3 metres above floor level
  • employment entailing harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
  • collecting money or selling or canvassing door to door, except under adult supervision
  • work entailing exposure to adult material or in situations that are for this reason otherwise unsuitable for children
  • telephone sales
  • in a slaughterhouse or in that part of a butcher’s shop or other premises connected with the killing of livestock, butchery or the preparation of carcass meat for sale
  • as an attendant or assistant in a fairground or amusement arcade or in any premises used for the purpose of public amusement by means of automatic machines, games of chance or skill or similar devices
  • in the personal care of residents of a residential home, unless under the supervision of a responsible adult

The regulations do not cover babysitting and helping at home. You need a permit for helping in a family business or helping someone with paid work.

You may only work on a street trader’s stall if your parents run it and you have a licence. You may not work on a stall on Sundays.

The regulations do not cover how much you should be paid. Different regulations cover acting, performing in shows and entertainment.

Hours that can be worked

School days

You may work up to 2 hours on school days (either 1 hour before and 1 hour after school, or 2 hours after school). You may not work before 7am or after 7pm. 

Saturdays and holidays

Between 7am and 7pm. Maximum of 5 hours a day if under 15 years or 8 hours a day if over.


Between 7am and 7pm. Maximum of 2 hours a day.

During term time you may not work more than 12 hours in any week. During school holidays you may not work more than 25 hours if you are under 15 or 35 hours you are over 15. You are entitled to a rest of 1 hour after 4 hours work.

How to apply for a work permit

The local authority will issue this on application from an employer, if the conditions are fulfilled. The consent of your parent or carer is necessary, and confirmation may be sought from a medical officer (usually an employee’s school medical officer) that the work will not harm you or your education.

Application forms are available from local authority offices and secondary schools.

You should carry your permit while at work.

The law

It is an offence for anyone to employ a pupil without notifying the local authority.

Contact the ACE team

For application forms and further details contact the ACE team.

Download the leaflet; School children and part time work

Last updated: 12 April 2018