My 10 year old came home from school the other week with a leaflet explaining the laws surrounding school age children and employment. Did you know that all employers have to apply for a work permit from the council for each school age employee?? I didn’t. I felt old. My first job was aged 14 at a time when Rimmel’s Heather Shimmer was the must have lipstick and it was legal to pay children just £2.00 per hour! (For those trying to work it out it was 1995!). I was a waitress at a cafe called El Grande, ran by a sleazy, overweight Spanish man and there was certainly nothing grand about it! Still, I had wanted more money to buy my own beauty products and clothes and a friend had told me that they were taking on staff. Although the Spaniard gave me the creeps and his sidekick reminded me of Miss Trunchbull (I don’t even want to imagine what ‘favours’ she was doing for him), I stuck it out for the whole of spring and well into the summer. I’m not sure what was worse, the leery boss or the heat and the grease that clung on to my skin for a mere £14 a shift, but eventually I could not take anymore. It must have been bad as my mother came with me the morning of an afternoon shift and I demanded the measly pay he owed me and quit there and then!!
Never one to hang around, I was soon working for a big retailer where I earned more money and worked many more hours. I was surprised when I read the leaflet that Megan came home with, how limited the hours that school age children now are. Whilst I was doing my GCSEs, I would work all weekend, from the time the store opened until it closed, plus two evenings a week. I must add that I am not saying it is a bad thing there are now more restrictions, just surprised at how difficult it now is for a youngster to earn some extra money. I wasn’t planning on sending Megan out to work just yet – I was planning on waiting until she was at least 12! 😉