Coronavirus - Child Employment

Published: 16th April 2020

Here is some guidance put together for employers who are employing young people aged 13-16 years (inclusive) during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The NNCEE recommends employers should undertake the following good practice:

  • Write to parents to reassure them about the steps taken to keep employees safe and what to do if they or their child has any concerns or objections. Pass on web links to Government and Public Health England information pages.
  • If any parent or young person no longer wishes to continue with their work, then of course they should be released from their duties. Waiver normal leaver notice periods if people really want to give up.
  • Ensure risk assessments are up to date, signed and dated by parent/guardian, along with having emergency contact details for the young person and their parent / carer.
  • Employers would need to consider the risk of Covid-19 for the young person working and if that increases the risk for other members of their household.
  • Businesses should ensure the young person is able to keep to the rules regarding social distancing when at work. This advice applies to both inside the business and in the external public areas. If this is not possible then the young person should be released from their role until social distancing rules are relaxed.
  • Young people should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds and more frequently than normal.
  • Provide tissues and hand sanitiser, gloves and other personal protection equipment in the shop/business for the young people to use if they need to.
  • If a young person presents at work with Covid-19 symptoms you must send them home and inform the parents straight away and take appropriate action.
  • Do not force anyone to do their work if they need to self-isolate. Find cover for them.
  • Inform the young person / parent / carer if other members of staff have developed symptoms of Covid-19 to see if any additional action should be taken.

In the case of newspaper deliveries,

  • Ensure the young workers do not come into contact with the householders in their course of their work, being able to drop newspapers on doorsteps and through letterboxes. They should not be knocking on doors or obtaining signatures or collecting payment.
  • Ensure young people know what to do if they encounter someone with Covid-19 symptoms in the course of their work / delivery and whom they should report this information to. A young person should not go into the home.
  • Make arrangements for gloves and masks where required. The World Health Organisation has confirmed that the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, and therefore the risk of contracting Covid-19 through receipt of a printed paper is infinitely small: https://www.inma.org/blogs/earl/post.cfm/zero-incidents-of-covid-19-transmission-from-print-surfaces
  • Only delivering the round alone or with a member of the same household.
  • Consider options to deliver at a time that suits the worker if they feel more comfortable delivering when it is likely that there are fewer people about (though most deliver in the morning anyway) ensuring this still meets employment byelaws.