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Licences and work permits for children

The local authority where the child will be employed is responsible for issuing the child employment permit. Child employment is different to work experience, which is part of a child’s education and is arranged in this borough through Project Trident.

Child employment permits

Apply for a child employment permit

For children employed in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, download and complete our application form and return it to the address at the top of the form.

Child employment permit application (DOCX, 68 KB)

Employment during compulsory education

Children, from the age of 13 until they leave compulsory education, are allowed to be employed providing:

  • the employment complies with national law
  • the employment complies with this borough’s bye-laws
  • the child has an employment permit (regardless of if the work is paid or unpaid)

Compulsory education ends on the Friday before the last Monday in June during the academic year that the child reaches the age of 16. After this date, a child employment permit is no longer required.

Permit and employment card

If the application is successful, the permit is issued to the employer, along with an employment card. The issuing of employment permits and cards is free.

It comes in two parts:

  • one part states the hours that the child is allowed to work,
  • the other part has the child’s photograph on it.

The employment card must be available for inspection by a local authority officer. It is very important that the child and the employer take care of the employment card and keep it with them at work, or in the work place.

Laws and regulations

Laws and regulations apply to the employment of children and are referred to in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Employment of Young Children Bye-Laws 1998.

You can obtain a copy from the Education Statutory Services Team.

Permitted hours

For all age groups

  • employers must provide suitable and set times for rest
  • children are not allowed to work for more than four hours without a 1 hour break
  • there must be at least two weeks (taken together) in a year when the child must not work
  • children are not allowed to work before 7am or after 7pm, whether they are paid or unpaid
  • children of compulsory school age are not allowed to work during school time unless it is work experience, arranged by the school

From the age of 13 to 15

  • school days – no more than two hours outside of school hours
  • Saturdays – no more than five hours
  • Sundays – no more than two hours
  • school holidays – no more than five hours a day (with a maximum of 25 hours a week)

From the age of 15 until the child finishes compulsory education

  • school days – no more than two hours outside of school hours
  • Saturdays – no more than eight hours
  • Sundays – no more than two hours
  • school holidays – no more than eight hours a day (with a maximum of 35 hours a week)

Permitted types of employment

Between the age of 13 and 14

Children can work, paid or unpaid, doing these types of work:

  • deliver newspapers
  • shop work
  • hairdressing
  • office work
  • wash cars (but not in a garage)
  • wait oh tables in a café or restaurant
  • work in a livery, riding stables, kennels or catteries

From the age of 14 until they leave compulsory education

Children can also do light work in:

  • garden centres
  • fruit picking (and some types of farm work)
  • chambermaid work
  • sweeping up

Light work means that the type of work, and where it is done, does not threaten or affect the health, safety and education of the child.

Places where children cannot work

Children cannot work, paid or unpaid, in the following places:

  • commercial kitchen
  • chip shop
  • fairground or amusement arcade
  • pub or bar
  • building site
  • gambling club
  • cinema
  • theatre (except with an entertainment licence, see below)
  • disco or dance hall
  • more than 3 metres above floor level
  • billiard, snooker or pool hall
  • warehouse or factory
  • slaughterhouse or butcher’s shop

Chaperone licences

By law chaperones (also known as matrons) must have a licence, unless they are the child’s parent or legal guardian. Chaperones:

  • are responsible for the welfare, protection and guidance of children and young people in entertainment
  • must act as if they are the parent of the child, or children, they chaperone
  • need to make sure, with producers, that the child’s best interests are protected
  • must ensure that children they look after are properly supervised and are allowed meal times and rest periods

The maximum number of children that chaperones can care for is 12. If there is a mixture of ages and sexes then this number may be less. This is at the discretion of the local authority issuing the licence.

A combination of male and female chaperones may be required. The borough in which the applicant lives is responsible for issuing a chaperone licence.

The Education Statutory Services Team is responsible for licensing chaperones who live in Barking and Dagenham.

Apply for a chaperone licence

Download and complete our application form and return it to the address at the end of the form.

Chaperone licence application form (DOCX, 62 KB)

Entertainment licence for children

Children (from birth to when they finish compulsory education) have to be licensed when working in:

  • television
  • films
  • theatre
  • modelling
  • certain sporting activities

Compulsory education ends on the Friday before the last Monday in June, during the academic year that the child reaches the age of 16. After this date, an entertainment licence is no longer required.

The child will need an agent to organise and arrange performances. The agent is also responsible for payment made to the child for the work they do.

Children in entertainment must be in the care of their parent, legal guardian or licensed chaperone.

Child entertainment licence application form

The local authority where the child lives is responsible for issuing an entertainment (also known as performance) licence. 

Barking and Dagenham local authority may refuse to grant a licence if the licence application is not received at least 21 days before the day on which the first performance or activity takes place. However, in order to support children to access opportunities to perform, we can issue a licence with 10 working days’ notice, providing all documents relating to the application have been completed correctly. A licence will only be issued providing all the requirements are met.

Child entertainment licence application form (DOCX, 42 KB)

Performances or organised activities abroad

Children are allowed to travel abroad to perform or be involved in organised activities. However, up until the age of 18, they must have a valid young persons employment abroad licence.

Young persons performing abroad licence guidance (PDF, 86 KB)

Education Statutory Services Team

2nd Floor, Town Hall Barking, 1 Town Square, Barking IG11 7LU

020 8227 2151