Warning over young workers

FIRMS are being urged to ensure that they don’t break the law when employing children.

Officials from Hartlepool Borough Council want to make sure that children only work the legally permitted number of hours, and employers obtain a local authority permit when taking them on.

They are launching an awareness-raising campaign to coincide with National Child Employment Fortnight, which runs from Monday.

Elly Fox, Hartlepool Council’s child employment and licensing officer, is visiting employers across Hartlepool and handing out posters and information leaflets around schools, libraries, community centres and shops.

She said: “Nationally, there have been some horrendous accidents where young people have been maimed or even died. Thankfully, nothing like that has ever happened in Hartlepool, but we can’t afford to become complacent.

“Through this awareness-raising campaign we want to ensure that the health, well-being and education of our children are properly protected.

“Businesses should also be aware that if there is an accident involving a child who is employed illegally then their public liability insurance goes out of the window. That could have serious consequences for the future of their business.”

The law currently states that no-one under the age of 13 can be employed, while youngsters old enough to work are only permitted to be employed for up to 12 hours a week during term-time.

Those aged 13 and 14 can work up to 25 hours a week during school holidays, while 15 and 16 year olds can work up to 35 hours a week during holidays. No child can ever work after 7pm, not even at weekends or in the school holidays.