Businesses in our area are being warned to put measures in place to protect teenage employees (those aged between 13 and 16).
The warning being issued by Council licensing officials comes as the National Network for Children in Employment and Entertainment (NNCEE) issued updated guidance for businesses employing children during the Coronavirus pandemic.
In the UK, it is legal for businesses to employ children from the age of 13, however they need a work permit for each child that they employ. The industries that a child of 13 to 16 can work in are limited.
Council officials are warning businesses that they must ensure that risk assessments are up to date, signed and dated by a parent or guardian of each child that they employ.
Businesses should also consider the child’s household, and whether them working during the Coronavirus pandemic puts other members of their household at risk.
Employers need to ensure that social distancing measures are in place and that child employees are aware of these measures and are following them sufficiently.
Councillor Ian Lindley, portfolio holder for children, education and young people at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “I recognise that in these challenging times, there is a lot being expected of us all and it can be frustrating for business owners for more guidance to be thrown into the mix.
“However, businesses that employ children must take extra measures to safeguard their wellbeing.
“If you are employing young people, make sure that they are sticking to social distancing, remind them to avoid close physical contact with customers and other employees, and make sure you’re providing sufficient protective equipment and hand sanitiser where necessary.
“Our officers are more than happy to go through the latest guidance with businesses – they can get in touch with us for more information.”
If you employ a child aged between 13 and 16 without a work permit, you must get in touch with the Education Welfare Service and complete an application.
Employers who fail to complete a work permit application for any children in their employment could see themselves prosecuted under section 40 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 and the Children (Protection at Work) Regulations 1998, and face a fine of up to £1,000.
Child employees without a proper permit are also not covered by workplace insurance.
To get in touch with the Council’s Education Welfare Service on 01472 326291 (option 1) or email EWS-CIEE@nelincs.gov.uk.