Information on employing children and the law

Child work permits

If you want to employ a child you may need to apply for a work permit for them. You can only employ children of 13 or over. You do not need to apply if they rarely work or are doing work experience. Children can only start full-time work when they reach school leaving age. has more advice on child work permits.

We also have more information about what the law says about children’s working hours on our leaflet, THE LAW SAYS.

The amount of time they can work depends on their age:

Age School day Saturday/holiday Sunday
13 to 14 Up to 2 hours Up to 5 hours Up to 2 hours
15 to 16 Up to 2 hours Up to 8 hours Up to 2 hours

Child performers – licence and chaperones

You will need to apply for a child performance licence for each child if you are setting up a public performance using children. The licence is needed for performances with acting, singing or dancing (unpaid or paid), or any paid sport or modelling events. You must apply at least 21 days before the event starts. Send the form to Children’s Action Team, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU or email it to

The children will need to be escorted at all times. Advice for chaperones.

Further information

If you require any further information or would like an application form, please call 0118 937 6545 or email: