Skip Navigation

Child employment and work permits

Answers to some general questions about child employment and acquiring child work permits.

To employ a child aged between 13 to 16 years of age, you will need a child work permit. You must complete a work permit online application form for each child you wish to employ within a minimum of 14 working days before they begin work. A child will need a permit for voluntary employment if the aim of the organisation is to make a profit. Children do not need one for work experience arranged by the school.

Where do I apply for a child work permit?

Apply online, but you must apply to the correct council. If you are not part of Dorset County Council, please contact your council. If you are not sure which council to contact, see on our map (opens in a new window).

If you are part of DCC use our online form.

Find out more and apply

When can a child start work and how many hours can they do?

A child can start working at the age of 13. It is illegal to employ a child under 13. The hours a child can work will depend on their age. The hours differ for 13 to 14 year olds and 15 to 16 year olds. See the tables for the permitted working times by age.

During school term time:

During school term timeChildren aged 13 and 14 yearsChildren aged 15 and 16 years

Daily maximum (Monday to Friday)

2 hours (of which no more than 1 hour may be prior to the start of school hours)2 hours (of which no more than 1 hour may be prior to the start of school hours)
Daily maximum (Saturday)5 hours8 hours
Daily maximum (Sunday)2 hours2 hours
Weekly maximum12 hours12 hours
Earliest start time7am7am
Latest finish time7pm7pm
Is employment during school hours permitted?No



During school holidays:

During school holidays

Children aged 13 and 14 years

Children aged 15 and 16 years

Daily maximum (Monday to Saturday)5 hours8 hours

Daily maximum (Sunday)

2 hours2 hours
Weekly maximum25 hours35 hours
Earliest start time7am7am
Latest finish time7pm


What type of work can children do?

Children may undertake 'light work'. This is work that is unlikely to be harmful to the health, safety or development of a child or to their attendance at school.

There are some jobs that children under 16 cannot do. They include:

  • selling alcohol, unless in a sealed container
  • working in a commercial kitchen (this includes washing up, unless the washing up area is separate to the kitchen)
  • collecting or sorting rubbish
  • working where harmful chemical, biological or physical agents are used
  • working in the personal care of residents of any residential care home or nursing home unless under the supervision of a responsible adult

Please see the legislation for child employment (PDF, 85kb) (opens in a new window) for further information.

Can a child work for more than one employer?

A child can work for more than one employer but they must have a separate work permit for each job. If a child has more than one job, the total hours they work for all jobs must not go over the maximum work hours for their age.

Is there a minimum wage for children?

There is no minimum wage for children. Minimum wage only applies once a child has completed compulsory education.

How long is a work permit valid for?

The permit is valid whilst the child is employed or until they reach the last Friday in June of the school year in which they are 16. The employer must make the Business Support Team aware of any changes to the child's working times or conditions so they can issue an updated work permit.

How long does it take to get a permit?

We aim to process all applications within 21 working days. It can sometimes take longer if we require further information from the employer, parent or school. In some cases we may ask for information from other services within the council or other local councils.



  • Applying for a child work permit

    Guidance on how to apply for a work permit using our online application form, and information on what is needed to submit an application.

Powered by GOSS iCM