School pupils work illegally

MORE than half of Exmouth s school children who worked during the summer holidays last year may have been doing so illegally.

MORE than half of Exmouth's school children who worked during the summer holidays last year may have been doing so illegally.

County Council employment chiefs say that half the school children working for Devon firms last summer did not have the required work permit.

And they are warning of a crack down and Education Welfare Officers are planning to visit employers during July and August to check for illegal child labour.

Last year, in Devon 397 school-aged children were found working in a number of occupations - and 225 did not have the required work permit.

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And some were even working in jobs that are illegal for children or outside hours that are permitted by law.

Children who are being employed illegally and without work permits are not normally covered by the employer's insurance and are unlikely to receive compensation for their injuries.

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Christine Ellison, Child Employment and Performance Officer for Devon County Council's Education Welfare Service, said: "Employers must ensure that they have carried out all obligations in law and also are aware of any risks and other necessary safety procedures before they employ a child."

Nearly 60 children in the UK are seriously injured or killed each year while working, and there are more than 200 laws and regulations governing child labour.

She added: "This is not designed as a persecution or prosecution exercise.

"Education welfare officers will visit employers, shopping centres, markets and other places where school-aged children are employed to offer advice regarding the legal situation regarding child employment, work permits, hours of work and occupations that children can and can not be employed in."

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