Protecting child employees: why the system doesn't work

James McKechnie, Sandy Hobbs, Amanda Simpson, Cathy Howieson, Sheila Semple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article is the first systematic attempt to examine the implementation of child employment legislation by English local authorities. A representative sample of 51 authorities were surveyed, five of them being subsequently investigated in greater depth. It is estimated that approximately one in ten students of school age who have jobs have the necessary approval of a local authority which means that local authorities therefore cannot monitor whether conditions laid down in legislation are being respected. Authorities are aware that they are failing to register most working children but resources allocated to this area are limited with staff generally having responsibilities for other areas as well. Other problems identified include outdated legislation and lack of awareness of the law. The research raises fundamental questions about the protection of child employees and the need for policy change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-87
JournalYouth & Policy
Issue number110
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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