Update on management of child employment arrangements during COVID-19
Wiltshire Council has released revised information for employers and parents after updated government guidance on child employment.
In liaison with other local authorities in the south west, the council acted on earlier government guidance and suspended child employment arrangements temporarily during COVID-19.
In response to new guidance from the Department for Education, this has since been reviewed. Suspension of child employment arrangements remains in place but businesses can apply for a dispensation, provided they meet clear criteria to ensure the child's wellbeing is safeguarded and the child is able to work in safe conditions.
These include where an employer's business is deemed to be essential and where a role is defined as a key worker and the employment of the child is considered essential in this context, then the local authority may consider dispensation to the suspension of a Child Employment Permit.
Cllr Pauline Church, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills said: "As always, we have been guided by the government on this issue, and in light of the DfE changing the guidance, we have reviewed our position.
"Businesses can apply for a dispensation, but we will continue to make decisions by taking into account our safeguarding responsibilities and by ensuring the safety and welfare of young people in Wiltshire."
The council currently has 170 young people aged 16 or under who are working and have an employment licence. This can be in a number of areas, including newspaper rounds or retail.
DfE guidance highlights laws that state young people of 16 years or younger should only do light work which is not harmful to the safety, health or development of children.
Employers applying for a dispensation will need to sign an employer statement and code of conduct and complete a risk assessment. Parents will also need to sign a medical declaration. All forms are available on the website and should be sent to PNLO@wiltshire.gov.uk.
Once supporting documentation is received then the council will consider whether dispensation may be agreed and employers will be advised in writing.