Kids and work – common misconceptions
We all know how important it is to teach children about the value of money, and encouraging them to do odd jobs and babysitting when they are old enough is a great start. But quite a lot of the “facts” you may have heard about kids working aren’t what the law actually says…..
“You have to be 14 to babysit”
There is no minimum legal age for a child to babysit. However, if a parent chooses a baby sitter that is under 16 they must be prepared to take legal responsibility for anything that may go wrong in their absence. The parent remains responsible for the care and safety of their child.
“You can’t work at all until you are 14”
If you’re under 14, you can babysit or do occasional work such as odd jobs for someone you know. Sport and entertainment work may also be permitted. In some areas, it is also permitted for 13 year olds to do a paper round or other light work. However, there are strict limits with regard to the number of hours a child can work on a school day or at the weekend. Employers of children (up to and including year 11) need to apply for a work permit from their County Council, which includes a risk assessment of the type of work that they will do. This isn’t required for odd jobs or babysitting.
“Working for your parents or relations doesn’t count”
The rules still apply. So if your child works for the family business, for example serving in a shop or doing farm work, you still need to apply for a permit – even if you don’t pay them!
“It’s a child’s right to work as many hours as the law allows”
If the work affects their school work, health or welfare, their employment permit can be withdrawn.