Education welfare officers will be visiting Tameside businesses over the next two weeks to check the arrangements for any children they employ.
While many young people of compulsory school age can benefit from working part-time, there are legal requirements in place to young people are properly registered and are not being exploited or undertaking work that could damage their health, place them in physical danger or have an adverse effect on their education.
Children and young people can only work in a limited number of jobs and for a limited number of hours, until they reach the minimum school leaving date. The official date for leaving school is the last Friday in June in the school year in which the pupil is 16. Before this date young people between the ages of 13 and 16 must have a work permit if they wish to do part time work.
An application form must be completed and signed by the parents and the employer before being submitted to the Education Welfare Service for approval. If the type of work is suitable, and the hours to be worked are within the stipulated limits, a work permit will be issued.
Any employer who allows a child of school age to work, without first obtaining a work permit, is breaking the law and could be prosecuted. There is also a risk the employer won’t be insured against any accidents involving the child.
Tameside Council has issued approximately 400 licences for children to be employed over the past four years. However, the amount of licence applications have dropped over the past 12 months, despite the knowledge that children are still working.
During Child Employment Fortnight (18 April – 1 May) Tameside education welfare officers will visit local businesses to raise awareness and stress the importance of children having an employment permit. They will also be working closely with markets staff as many children work both before and after school and at weekends on markets.
A spokesperson for Tameside Education Welfare Service said: “We recognise the benefits and experience which young people gain whilst working but we want to ensure they are working safely and legally and we need the collaboration of young people, employers and parents to achieve this.”