General Employment of Young People Factsheet


The information in this factsheet applies to the employment of young people other than in the entertainment industry. Information on young people employed in the entertainment industry is available on the Employment Standards website at: www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb/chldflm.

Employment of young people between the ages of 12 – 14

An employer must receive the written permission of a parent or guardian before employing a young person aged 12 to 14. This enables the parent or guardian to verify where their child will be working, as well as to evaluate whether the hours of work and the type of work to be performed are suitable for their child. Parents and guardians are responsible for determining that the proposed employment meets the best interests of their child and will not adversely affect the child's social, physical or educational needs. (See Employment of Young People – A Guide for Parents factsheeet.)

If an employer employs a young person without the consent of a parent or guardian, the employer must be able to prove that the employee is 15 years of age or older.

Employment conditions age 12 – 14

An employer must not require or allow a child aged 12 to 14 to work at the same time the child is scheduled to attend school. The child must be under the direct and immediate supervision of a person aged 19 or older at all times while working.

An employer must not require or allow a child aged 12 to 14 to work more than the following number of hours:

  • Four hours on a school day;
  • Seven hours on a non-school day, unless the director has provided written approval;
  • 20 hours in a week that has five school days; and
  • 35 hours in any other week.

Employment of children under the age of 12

Before employing a child under the age of 12, an employer must have written permission in the form of a child employment permit from the Director of Employment Standards.

Employment conditions under age 12

The director will assess each application carefully. Before permission is granted, the employer must demonstrate that:

  • The parent or guardian has given written permission;
  • The school has given written permission;
  • The child will be under direct and immediate adult supervision at all times;
  • The child will not travel to or from the worksite unaccompanied; and
  • The child will not work near hot surfaces, noxious substances or dangerous equipment.

The director will also consider such things as:

  • The degree to which the child can physically be expected to perform the work;
  • Whether the child has the maturity to function in a work environment; and
  • The child’s ability to understand the nature of an employment relationship and health and safety issues in the workplace.

The director may set hours of work appropriate for the child, and may restrict the type of work to be performed. If there is any concern about the suitability of the proposed employment, permission will not be granted. The director may cancel a permit after it is issued.

Permission from the director to employ a child does not relieve the employer of responsibility to ensure that the child’s work is not dangerous or detrimental to the welfare of the child.  


Ministry of Labour
Employment Standards Branch
Province of British Columbia

This factsheet has been prepared for general information purposes. It is not a legal document. Please refer to the Employment Standards Act and Regulation for purposes of interpretation and application of the law. December 2008

For more information contact the Employment Standards Branch