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Child employment legislation

There are rules and regulations to safeguard children who have part time jobs and children who take part in entertainment. In Cheshire West and Chester, our Education Welfare Service is responsible for overseeing this legislation.

Legal overview

Information on UK law on child employment and legal definitions is available on the Gov.UK website.

To employ children of compulsory school age

It is a legal duty to register with the Local Authority and obtain an employment licence for each child who is still at school.

There are rules and regulations to safeguard children who have part time jobs and children who take part in entertainment. Our Education Welfare Service is responsible for overseeing this legislation.

Children between the age of 13 and 16 years who are working have to have a child employment licence issued to their employer.

The employer is responsible for ensuring that an application is completed properly and submitted to the Local Authority within one week of the commencement of the child’s employment for every child who works for him / her, including his / her own children from the council that covers where they will work.  The employer must also gain the consent from the child’s parent/guardian. The childs age will limit the amount of hours they can work per week and they can only work between the hours of 7am - 7pm.

Age of child 13 / 14 years old 15 / 16 years old
School day  one hour before plus one after, or two hours after one hour before plus one after, or two hours after
Non - school week (in total) 25 hours 35 hours
Non - school day 5 hours 8 hours
Sunday Max two hours Max two hours

Children must have a one hour break after four hours and must have a two week break during school holidays.

Our application process is now online. You will need the following to complete an application:

  • have all your employer information to hand for example name, address, email address, nature of business, nature of child’s duties etc
  • confirm you hold employee liability insurance
  • obtain parental consent and medical history
  • obtain child personal details such as name, address, date of birth, school
  • complete all online fields in order to apply for the employment licence
  • a copy of your risk assessment
  • a copy of the completed parental consent/medical information (Word, 2MB)

What happens next?

  • we will check that all information is completed correctly online
  • if there is any missing information, we will reject the application and email you to request this
  • we will contact you by email if we need to carry out a site inspection before we can issue the licence
  • if all information is completed correctly, we will email you the completed licence and copy in the parent

All information is dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018


Further information and advice

Children in entertainment

The Law requires children under the upper limit of compulsory school age to be licensed by the council if involved in performances of all kinds, including:

  • performing in theatres and other venues
  • broadcasting and films
  • paid modelling
  • paid sport

Licences for all types of performances, including modelling must be applied for by the producer of the event or the model agency to the Local Authority where the child lives.

The application must be made on the Child Entertainment Licence application form and completed by the applicant and the parent. This must be returned to the Education Welfare Service at least 21 days before the event.

We may refuse to issue a licence under certain circumstances and therefore the child cannot take part in the event.

Time off school may only be authorised by a licence issued by the Education Welfare Service after consultation with the child’s head teacher.

Exemptions from licensing

Licensing is not required for performances organised under arrangements made by a:

  • school 
  • ‘Body of Persons’  - a Council approved group of people who are organising an event on an amateur basis

Licence free days

There is an exemption from Licensing available which allows a young person to perform on up to four days in any six month period.

Notifications of Licence Free Day approval can be made by completing our form:

Body of persons

Approval for exemption by the ‘body of persons’ must be sought from the Education Welfare Service at the local Area Education Office, where the performances are to take place. Written details on the appropriate Body of Persons application form will be required by the Education Welfare Services before final approval is given.

Chaperones in Entertainment

Children taking part in entertainment must be looked after by an adult chaperone, who is either the child's parent or a person approved by the Local Authority where the applicant lives.

Please see below the video link.  If you are coming into contact with children and vulnerable people, Cheshire West Safeguarding Children Partnership say that everyone should watch it.

Take a moment to watch the ‘Safeguarding Everyone’ animation

  • ask yourself 'how you would respond in these situations?'
  • think about situations that you may come across in your role
  • who would you speak to if you had a concern for a child or adult’s welfare?

To apply, you must be at least 21 years old and a resident of Cheshire West and Chester Council area to be approved by this local authority as a Chaperone. If you live in another local authority area you will need to contact your home authority for further information on their application process.

This role means that we have to undertake a Digital Barring Service (DBS) check.

You will need the following to apply:

  • have all your personal information to hand for example name, address, date of birth, NI Number, previous address and surname history, email address etc
  • have full details including email addresses of two referees who can provide a personal reference with examples of you working with children. These cannot be your relative or partner
  • have a headshot photograph of yourself ready (this can be taken on a phone if it is able to be downloaded and saved)
  • complete all the online fields in order to apply for the position of Chaperone
  • have three identity documents for example, passport, driving licence, birth certificate, marriage certificate, utility bills and upload your photographs/scanned copies of the three identity documents. As per the table below

Group 1 Documents

  • passport (any nationality)
  • current photocard driving licence - UK/Isle of Man/Channel Islands (full or provisional)
  • biometric residence permit
  • adoption certificate (UK and Channel Islands)
  • birth certificate (UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands)

Group 2a Documents

  • current driving licence (full or provisional) / paper version (if issued before 1998). UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands
  • current driving licence photocard (full or provisional). All countries outside the UK (excluding Isle of Man and Channel Islands)
  • marriage/civil partnership Certificate (UK and Channel Islands)
  • HM Forces ID card (UK)
  • firearms licence (UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man)

Group 2b Documents

  • letter of Sponsorship from future employment provider (Non-UK only - valid only for applicants residing outside of the UK at time of application)
  • EEA National ID card
  • cards carrying the PASS accreditation logo (UK and Channel Islands)
  • letter from Head Teacher or College Principal of a UK institution - only to be used by 16 to 19 year olds in full time education if other documents cannot be provided.
  • current passport card showing that the holder is a national of the Republic of Ireland (cannot be used with an Irish passport)

What happens next?

  • we will check that all information is completed correctly. If it is not, we will reject the application and email you to let you know what is outstanding
  • if everything is completed correctly, we will email you to arrange an online video appointment to carry out the training on the roles and responsibilities of being a Chaperone in Entertainment
  • after your training, details will be given to pay the £9 volunteer fee or £51 professional fee for the DBS check over the telephone to our contact centre
  • we will complete our part of the DBS.This will trigger an email to you from the DBS asking you to complete your part of the process
  • when the DBS has been completed, we will contact you and ask you to make a short appointment so that your DBS Certificate and identity documents can be viewed in person. This must be done and is our policy
  • when your original documents and DBS Certificate has been checked and verified, we will issue your Chaperone ID Badge and covering letter by post


If you have any issues with the online application process, please contact us.

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