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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 the council's Education Welfare Service is responsible for overseeing this legislation.

Where to find help

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

Within seven days of the child starting work the employer must apply for a child employment licence (Word, 4MB) from the council for every child who works for him / her, including his / her own children.

The employer is responsible for all aspects of the child’s safety and well being during the time the child is employed. The employer must also carry out a risk assessment for the child’s duties and share its findings with the child’s parent.

Further information and advice

Children in entertainment

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

  • performing in theatres and other venues,
  • broadcasting and films,
  • 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.

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 .

The council 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

There may also be an exemption if the child has not performed on more than three occasions in the previous six months.

Licence free days

There is an exemption from Licensing available which allows a young person to perform on up to four occasions in any six month period. This is only available on application to, and with the approval of the Education Welfare Service.

Applications for Licence Free Day approval can be made by completing and returning the form below.

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.

We may make enquiries about the child's health and/or education before granting a licence or approving an exemption. Restrictions or conditions may apply to the licence or approval.

Sometimes a child taking part in entertainment must be looked after by an adult chaperone, referred to as a Matron, or taught by a tutor. Both these people must be approved by the child’s education authority.

If you are interested in becoming a Matron, please contact the Child Licensing Office for more information.


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