Legal charity to appeal child worker’s tribunal decision

A legal charity has called on the government to reform children’s employment law after a 15-year-old paperboy lost a tribunal case because he was not technically employed.

Myles Bebbington was sacked from his newspaper round – which he started aged 13 – after the newsagent illegally asked him to start work at 6.30am and his mother complained.

Despite Bebbington having worked up to seven days a week and having received £2.50 a day, an employment tribunal in Ashford, Kent, found he was not technically employed as there was no “mutuality of obligation” between him and the newsagent.

The Children’s Legal Centre told Personnel Today it had spoken with Bebbington’s family and would appeal the case on their behalf.

Carolyn Hamilton, director of the Children’s Legal Centre, said the decision taken by the tribunal was “wrong in law and leaves children unprotected and vulnerable to exploitation”.

She said: “What is needed is a new comprehensive Child Employment Law that ensures children are able to work but, at the same time, are safe and entitled to all the same safeguards and protection given to adults.”

In 2005 the Better Regulation Task Force recommended the government should reform the law on child employment.

Hamilton added: “It is high time the government implemented this recommendation and took the needs of the approximately three million children in employment seriously.”

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