03 June 2010

Northamptonshire County Council is helping to raise awareness of the laws around employing school-age children during Child Employment Fortnight (24 May – 4 June).

The national campaign aims to raise awareness of the working rights of young people and the responsibilities of their employers.

Currently 552 children are legally registered to work in Northamptonshire but national research carried out last year showed that more than a third of school-age employees were working illegally.

Child Employment Fortnight is organised by the National Network for Children in Employment and Entertainment, which is an organisation made up of people working within child employment and entertainment legislation.

Councillor Andrew Grant, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Many young people benefit from working part-time and child employment laws exist to safeguard their education, health and welfare.

“We’re happy to support this awareness campaign to help increase awareness of the law and make sure more young people are working safely and legally.”

The fortnight has been marked in Northamptonshire with leaflet drops to offer advice to parents, young people and employers. Posters have been distributed to schools across the county.

Young people can be employed from the age of 13. The law specifies the permitted hours and types of employment as well as making it essential for employers to obtain a work permit for school age staff.

Northamptonshire County Council is responsible for registering child employment and issuing work permits in the county. Employers must carry out a risk assessment and complete an employer’s registration form to obtain one.

Children working without a permit may not be covered by any form of insurance, regardless of the policies that the employer has in force. Employers who breach this legislation are risking the safety of young people and can face fines of up to £1,000 per offence.

For advice on child employment, or to obtain an employer registration, members of the public can contact the council on 01604 236236 or visit the council’s website at: