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Child entertainment and employment licences

Child entertainment licence

Businesses which employ children and young people for public performances, filming, paid modelling work and sporting activities must have a child entertainment licence.

Children and young people are protected by this law until the last Friday in June of the academic year in which they turn 16.

When do you need a child entertainment licence?

A licence must be obtained for a child under compulsory school leaving age taking part in a performance:

  • if there is a charge or admission cost
  • on premises licensed to sell alcohol such as in a hotel, pub or theatre
  • where there is absence from school
  • recorded with a view to its use in a broadcast, film or intended for public exhibition. Such as live stage performance recorded for a cinema screening, a feature film, a video or sound recording of a performance on a website.
  • employed in paid modelling, photographic or catwalk work
  • working in paid or professional sport
  • in entertainment performing on stage or in television in activities such as films or commercials

Any child used as a stand in (understudy) should be licensed in the same way as the other children in the performance.

When is a licence not needed?

A child does not require a performance licence:

  • Performances put on by a school which provides a statutory education. This does not include dance, music or drama schools.
  • Child is being filmed for an observational documentary such as the news. Filmed carrying out day to day routine and not directed to act any differently.
  • Competitions

Where a child performance licence is not required the organiser of the performance or show is still required to register all children taking part with the Education Welfare Service at North East Lincolnshire Council.

Before you start

A child entertainment licence application requires 21 days’ notice.

Along with the completed application form, you will be required to provide the following:

  • One recent passport-sized photographs.
  • A copy of the contract or documents detailing the particulars regulating the child’s performance.
  • A medical certificate or statement stating the child is medically fit (as appropriate).
  • Letter or authorisation from the school that the child permitted absence to take part in performances and rehearsals (if applicable)

Consideration of your application will be made within 10 days’ if the following documents are received:

  • A fully completed application which includes Part 1, Part 2, Declaration, Chaperone Information, birth certificate, parental declaration of fitness, school letter and photo.
  • The applicants full contact details must be provided to include address, telephone number and e-mail address.

The local authority will not take responsibility for chasing up any missing information, therefore any incomplete or late applications could be refused. 

Child employment licence overview

Your child may want to earn some extra pocket money, but there are laws to protect your child which govern what hours and the type of work children of compulsory school age may undertake.

Children are considered to be employed if they assist in a business which operates for profit and if they are paid or unpaid. This also applies to the employers’ own children.

Children do not need a work permit for work experience that is arranged by school.

Occupations for compulsory school aged children

Children aged 13 and over can only be employed to do light work duties in the following places of employment:

  • Agricultural or horticultural
  • Delivery of newspapers, journals or other printed materials
  • Shop retail including shelf stacking
  • Hairdressing salons
  • Office work
  • Cafe or restaurants but not a commercial kitchen
  • Riding stables, kennels or catteries

Working hours for 13 to 16 year old

Children aged 13 to 14 can work for a maximum of:

  • 12 hours per week
  • No more than two hours on a weekday
  • 5 hours on a Saturday, and during the week in school holidays
  • 2 hours on a Sunday
  • 25 hours per week during school holidays
  • Not before 7am or after 7pm Monday to Sunday inclusive

Children aged 15 to 16 can work for a maximum of:

  • 12 hours per week
  • 8 hours on a Saturday, and during the week in school holidays
  • 2 hours on a Sunday
  • 35 hours per week during school holidays
  • Not before 7am or after 7pm Monday to Sunday inclusive


Employers must contact the Education Welfare Service within seven days of employing a child of compulsory school age. If satisfied with the type of employment, impact on the child’s health, welfare and education, the Council will issue the child with an employment permit.

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.

Children can’t work:

  • If an employment permit hasn’t been issued by the Education Welfare Service
  • For more than one hour before school, and one hour after school finishes. Or for a period not exceeding 2 hours between the end of school and 7pm
  • During school hours
  • Before 7am or after 7pm
  • For more than four hours without taking a break for at least one hour
  • In any occupation prohibited by local bylaws or other legislation
  • Without a two-week break from any work during the school holidays in each calendar year

Children should not be employed in any of the following places of work:

  • Cinemas, theatres, dance halls or nightclubs unless they’re involved in a performance which has a child entertainment licence.
  • Betting shops
  • Licenced premises or shop serving or delivering alcohol
  • Garage selling fuels such as petrol or diesel
  • Delivering milk or fuel oils
  • Commercial kitchens
  • To collect or sort refuse
  • Work which is more than three meters above ground level
  • Exposure to harmful physical, biological or chemical materials
  • To collect money, sell or canvass door to door
  • Exposure to adult material or places which are unsuitable for children
  • Slaughter houses or butcher shops
  • Attendant at a fairground, amusement arcade (including automatic machines)
  • Personal care of residents in a care or nursing home

Contact details

Education Welfare Service, Civic Offices, Knoll Street, Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, DN35 8LN

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01472 326291 option 1

Opening times: Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5pm and Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm, except bank holidays