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Safeguarding Young Employees - Child Employment Fortnight – 24th May to 4th June
Tuesday 11th May, 2010

Did you know that almost 40% of school age children who work are employed illegally?

In order to tackle this issue, Wigan Council will be joining forces with the National Network for Children in Employment and Entertainment (NNCEE) during ‘Child Employment Fortnight’ 2010, which will take place from 24th May – 4th June 2010.

The NNCEE is an organisation made up of people working within child employment and entertainment legislation. They will be running a national initiative during ‘Child Employment Fortnight’, to raise awareness of child employment law and promote the safeguarding of compulsory school age employees.

Wigan Council’s Attendance Manager, Nick Hindley, explains: “We will be working with the NNCEE as part of a national initiative to give employers, young people and the public the opportunity to get advice from council representatives about youngsters working whilst at school.”

“It's important that we raise awareness about what the law involves, to ensure that employers are aware of their obligations, but also to try and prevent our young people being exploited. We want to ensure they are working safely and legally.”

As part of the initiative, Wigan Council will be sending out posters, leaflets and child employment applications to all schools in the borough. Education Welfare Officers will also be available to give advice on safe working practices, licensing and basic health and safety.

Officers will be working with partner organisations including Connexions and other council colleagues to promote safe working messages to employers and young people. They will also be dropping in on employers to check if they have relevant work permits in place for young employees.

Many young people currently work part time in a range of jobs such as waitressing or retail and laws are in place to safeguard their health, education and welfare. However, a lack of awareness and understanding about the law leaves many young people open to exploitation and even injury.

The law currently allows young people to be employed from age 14, but local authorities can permit a young person to work from age 13. The legislation also specifies employee/employer rights, the hours permitted, type of employment and makes it essential for employers to obtain a work permit for school age employees.

Employers can face fines of up to £1000 if they are found to have breached the legislation. They have a legal obligation to ensure that any children employed have a relevant work permit, which ensures that they are covered by the employers insurance.

Cabinet Champion for Children and Young People, Councillor Susan Loudon says: “There are a number of young people employed throughout the borough and it is vital that we protect them. I welcome any initiatives that help to increase awareness of the law and ensure youngsters are working safely and legally.”

For more information about the NNCEE initiative and Child Employment Fortnight 2010, please contact either Elizabeth Fairhurst or Caroline Webster at Wigan Council on 01942 486095.

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