Employers warned of child employment rules

Children should not be working before 7am to deliver newspapers or carry out any other tasks, employers across East Sussex are being reminded and warned.

With the arrival of darker mornings East Sussex County Council is reminding employers of the 7am start time, as part of its on-going drive to halt illegal and potentially dangerous employment of school aged children.

The Council’s Child Employment Officers also want employers to be more aware of the need for employment cards for any children they employ.

Cllr Nick Bennett, the County Council’s Lead Member for Learning and School Effectiveness, said: “There are many reasons why part-time work for young people is a really good thing. It introduces young people to the world of work, and gives them the chance to earn a bit of extra pocket money. So we are not trying to stop that.

“But we do have a responsibility to make sure that if children and young people are working, they are safe and are working within the law which is there to protect them from harm and exploitation.”

Cllr Bennett said that the Council was particularly concerned about employers who ask young people to work before 7am. “This restriction applies all year, but of course it is especially important in the winter months when the mornings are so much darker. It is quite simple, children must not be working before 7am. And when they are working to deliver newspapers on darker mornings it is really important that they can be seen.” He added.

Employers are being sent information by the County Council reminding them of the legislation that governs the employment of children. Breaking these rules can result in fines of up to £1,000 and officers will continue with spot checks on businesses that are likely to employ school age workers.

The law states that children must be aged 13 to work and depending on their age, there are rules for what hours they can work and what jobs they can do. Certain types of work are prohibited.

It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure that an employment card is obtained for each young person working for them.

For more information on the law as laid out in the Children and Young Persons Act, including guides from the County Council for employers and young people, see our section about Children at work.