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Children, Employment of

For the purposes of employment, a child is defined as being under school leaving age and the employment of children is governed primarily by the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 and associated legislation, The Employment of Children Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996.  Children cannot be employed:

  • if they are under the age of 13
  • for more than 1 hour before school opening time and anytime before school finishing time
  • before 7am in the morning and after 7pm in the evening on any day
  • for more than 2 hours on a school day
  • in any occupation other than those permitted by the legislation, which includes, for example, newspaper delivery, office work, shop work (with restrictions), domestic work etc.
  • without the written consent of their parents

Other restrictions for employment of children under the age of 15 and those over the age of 15 are detailed in the Regulations.  The Regulations also set out a requirement for an employer to give notice to the appropriate Education Board of their intention to employ a child and if approved, the Board shall issue an Employment Card.

See Children’s Law Centre: http://www.childrenslawcentre.org

Children’s Order http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1995/uksi_19950755_en_1

Employment of Children Regulations http://www.northernireland-legislation.hmso.gov.uk/sr/sr1996/Nisr_19960477_en_1.htm

Telephone Enquiry Point

The Agency’s Enquiry Point is available to employers, employees, trade unions and others. Enquiry Point advisors provide information and advice on a wide range of employment matters. The Enquiry Point is also an important contact point for identifying circumstances, or clients, who would benefit from being referred to other Agency services.

The Enquiry Point provides clear, confidential, independent and impartial advice to assist the caller in resolving issues in the workplace.

While the advisors cannot provide a legal opinion they can help callers gain a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities as well as identifying possible options to help resolve their issues.

028 9032 1442

Monday - Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm

Contact Us

Please note that we cannot deal with employment-related enquiries by e-mail. To receive information or advice about an employment-related issue, please telephone our Helpline on Belfast 90 321442 where an officer will speak with you directly about your query. Please note that the Agency can arrange the services of an interpreter if required.

If you have an employment relations issue in Great Britain please contact the ACAS Helpline on 0300 123 1100 .

For all non-employment related queries or questions please fill in the box below.