[All of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards] [Bukari & Muslim]
Working in a Madrassah is a sensitive job that involves dealing with a very vulnerable group and hence demands high maturity, eloquence, communication, teaching, management and organisation skills. Such qualities combined are scarce even among many adults, let alone children. Nevertheless, this article will provide an overview of the legal stance on children’s employment and volunteering and their rights.
- Child Employment or Volunteering of under 16 year olds
Generally, children under 16 years old are not allowed to be in any form of employment. However, Local Authorities have powers to make exceptions but require employers to apply for a mandatory ‘Child Employment Permit’ on behalf of the child before they start work. The work must be part-time and must not affect the child’s well being or full-time education in any way.
According to the gov.uk children are not allowed to work:
- Without a ‘Child Employment Permit’
- Without an employment permit issued by the education department of the local council, if this is required by local bylaws
- During school hours
- Before 7am or after 7pm
- For more than one hour before school (unless local bylaws allow it)
- For more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour
- In any work that may be harmful to their health, well-being or education
- Without having a 2-week break from any work during the school holidays in each calendar year
During term times, they are not allowed to do more than:
- a maximum of 2 hours on school days and Sundays
- a maximum of 5 hours on Saturdays for 13 to 14-year-olds, or 8 hours for 15 to 16-year-olds
During school holidays 13 to 14-year-olds are only allowed to work a maximum of 25 hours a week. This includes:
- a maximum of 5 hours on weekdays and Saturdays
- a maximum of 2 hours on Sunday
And 15 to 16-year-olds can only work a maximum of 35 hours a week. This includes:
- a maximum of 8 hours on weekdays and Saturdays
- a maximum of 2 hours on Sunday
In the case of a child under 16 being considered for a voluntary post, the above guidelines strictly apply. The only exception is that there is no need for a ‘Child Employment Permit’ as the role is unpaid.
Whether a child under 16 is volunteering or the employer has acquired a ‘Child Employment Permit’ on their behalf, they are legally not allowed to work or volunteer with children unsupervised by another qualifying adult. The following guidelines strictly apply:
- The supervision must be undertaken by a person who has a successful DBS clearance;
- The supervision must be regular and day to day e.g. it must not tail off after a few weeks; it must be consistent on every occasion when the volunteering takes place
- Child Employment or Volunteering 16-18 years old
Young people of this age group are generally allowed to volunteer or be in employment for up to 40 hours a week so long as they are enrolled on an educational course, apprenticeship or traineeship on a part-time or full-time basis. They are entitled to at least £4.05 of payment an hour.
In order to work or volunteer with children, young people have to be in compliance with all legal child protection requirements that apply to adults, including
According to gov.uk, ‘staff under 17 should be supervised at all times’, hence there should be an adult supervising who has a successful DBS clearance and supervision must be regular and consistent on every occasion when the paid or voluntary work takes place.
- Policies and procedures
The following are legally required or recommended policies and procedures that will help to protect and safeguard children and young people working or volunteering at your Madrassah or Islamic Supplementary School:
- A child protection policy must be drawn up that provides detailed guidelines about working with children or young people and then read and signed by all staff and volunteers.
- Their parents must give a written consent
- Parents or guardians should complete a form to provide the Madrassah with all relevant information i.e. emergency contact details, medical or dietary requirements their child might have e.g. asthma, allergies.
- A written job description for each role.
- An agreement of expectations of both parties.
- Full induction into your organisation.
- A nominated person for support and supervision.
You can obtain a draft copy of the Child protection policy, parent consent letter, role application form, agreement of expectations and role description through Mizan accreditation. To learn more about this topic and similar topics enrol on Madrassah management training programme.
A Handbook for Madrassah Management & Safeguarding by Shaukat Warraich and Dr Muhammed Ayub Rahim, 2012