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Kent County Council to advise employers on legalities of employing young people of school age

Kent County Council (KCC) aims to raise awareness of the working rights of young people during Child Employment Fortnight (24 May - 4 June).

Staff from the council will be visiting employers across Kent to offer advice about employing children of compulsory school age to make sure young people in the county are working legally.

Posters and information will be displayed in libraries, schools and other public places. There will also be information stands and drop-in sessions held at sites including Tunbridge Wells, Thanet and Dover Gateways.

Rosalind Turner, managing director of the Children, Families and Education directorate at Kent County Council, said: "Many young people benefit from working part-time. Child employment laws exist to safeguard their education, health and welfare. The aim of this initiative is to increase awareness of the law and, as a result, make sure more young people are working safely and legally.

"Kent County Council recognises the value of work for children and is offering advice to those businesses and organisations that need it."

The fortnight is organised by the National Network for Children in Employment and Entertainment, which is an organisation made up of people working within child employment and entertainment legislation.

Young people can be employed from the age of 13. But the law specifies the permitted hours and types of employment as well as making it essential for employers to obtain a work permit for school age staff. KCC is responsible for registering child employment and issuing work permits in Kent. Work permits are issued free of charge and employers must carry out a risk assessment and complete an employer's registration form to obtain one.

Children working without a permit may not be covered by any form of insurance, regardless of the policies that the employer has in force. Employers who breach this legislation are risking the safety of young people and can face fines of up to £1,000 per offence.