The importance of children’s wellbeing is being stressed during National Child Employment month as employers are being reminded of the rules protecting under 16-year-olds.
During the last two weeks of April, officers at West Sussex County Council are raising awareness of how children can be impacted by employment.
This will include drop-in visits to newsagents, garden centres, hotels and other shops which may be employing children of compulsory school age.
In 2014, a similar awareness activity showed that, out of the 87 premises visited, 30 children were being employed without permits. A number of follow-up calls and visits were made which resulted in 14 warning letters being sent out.
Richard Burrett, WSCC’s cabinet member for education and skills, said: “This exercise is not about prosecuting employers, it is about reminding them of the consequences a job could have on a child if they choose to ignore the regulations.
“There are a lot of benefits to having a part-time job before or after school but it can also be harmful to a child if it is not controlled. Some jobs could have a significant impact on a child’s education and have serious long-term effects.”
Employers will be reminded of the work that children can and cannot carry out in the workplace, the hours they are allowed to work, the importance of work permits and the penalties of not following the correct procedures – currently a fine of up to £1,000.
The county council is also asking schools in West Sussex to educate students and inform parents or guardians about the initiative and the legislation on child employment.
Child employment facts (for all school age children):
• Work must be between 7am and 7pm but outside of school hours
• Children can only work for two hours on a Sunday
• During term time, children can only work 12 hours per week
• Children must have a one hour break if they work four continuous hours
• Those aged 13 & 14 can only work for five hours per day and for 25 hours per week in the holidays
• Those aged 15 & 16 can only work for eight hours per day and for 35 hours per week in the holidays
National Child Employment month is run by the National Network for Children in Employment and Entertainment which is a charity that advises the government on children in the areas of work and entertainment. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
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