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Session 1997-98
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Employment of Children Bill




Make further provision for the protection of persons in employment under the upper limit of school age, by restricting hours of employment, especially on Sundays, and by other means.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

Restrictions on children's working hours: general.     1. - (1) No person shall employ a child to work between the hours of 7pm and 7am.
      (2) No person shall employ a child to work during his school term time-
    (a) during school hours;
    (b) for more than one hour before the commencement of school hours;
    (c) for more than two hours each week day;
    (d) for more than five hours on any Saturday; or
    (e) for more than 12 hours in any one week.
      (3) No person shall employ a child to work outside his school term time-
    (a) for more than 5 hours in any one day; or
    (b) for more than 25 hours in any one week.
Restrictions on children's working hours: Sundays.     2. No person shall employ a child to work for more than two hours on any Sunday.
Rest periods and holidays.     3. - (1) Any child working for a continuous period of four hours or more shall have, during that period, rest periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than 30 minutes which shall, unless there are good reasons to the contrary, include a single 30-minute rest period.
      (2) Subject to subsection (3) below, in each period of seven days, a working child shall have a single rest period of not less than 48 hours.
      (3) An employer may provide for the rest period referred to in subsection (2) above either-
    (a) to be interrupted by periods of work which are of short duration;
    (b) to consist of two non-consecutive periods of not less than 24 hours each; or
    (c) to consist of a single rest period of less than 48 hours but not less than 36 hours;
where there are good technical or organisational reasons for doing so.
      (4) In each school year, a child shall have a single period of not less than two weeks, outside school term time, during which he does not work.
Restrictions on type of work undertaken by children.     4. - (1) No person shall employ a child under the age of 13.
      (2) Subject to subsection (4) below, no person shall employ a child aged 13 to undertake any work other than-
    (a) agricultural work;
    (b) the delivery of newspapers, journals, promotional material or leaflets;
    (c) work in or about a shop on a day on which the shop is open for the serving of customers, including the stacking of shelves;
    (d) shampooing and sweeping-up in a hairdressing establishment;
    (e) clerical work in office premises;
    (f) the washing of parked vehicles (without the use of any mechanical device); or
    (g) waiting at a table in a café or restaurant.
      (3) No person shall employ a child over the age of 13 to do any work of the following kinds-
    (a) work in a cinema, theatre, discotheque, dance hall or night club (subject to section 8(2) below);
    (b) the delivery of alcohol, except in sealed containers;
    (c) the delivery of fuel oils;
    (d) the preparation of food;
    (e) the collecting or sorting of rags or refuse;
    (f) the cleaning of windows which are more than 3 metres above ground level or, in the case of the internal cleaning of windows, more than 3 metres above floor level;
    (g) work involving potentially harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents;
    (h) collecting money from domestic or commercial premises;
    (i) work involving exposure to any sex article or indecent matter, or to any similar article which is otherwise unsuitable for children;
    (j) work on board a ship; or
    (k) work in a factory.
      (4) No person shall employ a child to do any work which, on account of the nature of the tasks involved or the particular conditions under which they are performed, is likely to be harmful to his safety, health or development; or to his attendance at school, his participation in vocational training or guidance programmes (whether or not at school); or to his ability to benefit from the instruction so received.
Suitable clothing and equipment.     5. - (1) No employer shall require a child to work outdoors unless he is wearing clothes and shoes which are appropriate for the work being undertaken.
      (2) No child shall be employed to deliver milk in glass containers unless he is provided with a suitable means of carrying them.
Power to make byelaws.     6. Without prejudice to the generality of sections 4 and 5 above, a local authority may make byelaws for the purpose of prohibiting the employment of children in any kind of work which-
    (a) may interfere with their attendance at school, their participation in vocational guidance or training programmes (whether or not at school) or their capacity to benefit from any instruction so received; or
    (b) may be harmful to their health, safety or development.
Interpretation of sections 4 and 5.     7. - (1) For the purposes of the interpretation of sections 4 and 5 above, the Secretary of State may, by order made by statutory instrument, make further provision with respect to-
    (a) the maximum weight which a child may be required to lift or carry;
    (b) the types of physical, chemical and biological agents with which children may not work;
    (c) the types of clothing and equipment with which children must be provided when undertaking certain types of work; and
    (d) such other details as he thinks fit;
and may make different provisions for children of different ages and different types of work.
      (2) An order under subsection (1) above shall not be made unless a draft of it has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.
Public performances, etc.     8. - (1) Nothing in this Part or in any byelaw made under section 6 above shall prevent a child from taking part in a performance to which section 37 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 applies and in respect of which-
    (a) he is granted a licence under subsection (1) of that section; or
    (b) he does not require a licence by virtue of subsection (3) of that section.
      (2) Nothing in section 4(4)(a) of this Act shall prevent a child from taking part in, or working in connection with, a performance given entirely by children.
Offences.     9. - (1) A person who employs a child, without a work permit, other than in accordance with this Part shall be guilty of an offence.
      (2) A person guilty of an offence under this Part shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.
      (3) Where an offence under this Part is committed in respect of more than one child the maximum fine which may be imposed under subsection (2) above shall be determined as if the person convicted was guilty of a separate offence in respect of each child.
      (4) Where a child who works for more than one employer is employed contrary to section 1, 2 or 3 of this Act by virtue of his cumulative working time, but not by virtue of his working time for any single employer, any person by whom he is employed without a work permit shall be guilty of an offence.
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Prepared 22 December 1997