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What are the restrictions of employing young people?

View profile for Alexandra Dean
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The legal minimum age a child can work is 13 years old as a part-time worker, however there are exceptions to when a child can work below this age. For children who are between  13 and not more than 16 years of age, there are restrictions to where and when they can work. Children cannot work on industrial sites or factories, in pubs, betting shops and any work that may be harmful to the child's health, well-being or education. Local bylaws may prohibit further workplaces and may require both children and employers to obtain a permit.

When and how long can children work?

Children below 16 years old cannot work before 7am or after 7pm, for more than one hour before school (unless permitted in bylaws) or for more than 4 hours without having an hour's break. During school holidays, there must be a 2 week break from work each calendar year.

School Term Time Working Hours (maximum 12 hours per week)

Age

School days/Sundays

Saturdays

13-14 years old

2 hours

5 hours

15-16 years old

2 hours

8 hours

School Holiday Time Working Hours

Age

Weekdays/Saturdays

Sundays

Maximum hours per week

13-14 years old

5 hours

2 hours

25 hours

15-16 years old

8 hours

2 hours

35 hours

Full time young workers

A child can only work full time when they have reached minimum school leaving age. Workers under 18 years old can work a maximum of 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. They are also entitled 2 days off per week, of which should be taken consecutively. A 12 hour rest period should be taken within each 24 hours where there has been work (in between shifts on different days) and if a shift is over 4.5 hours a long, a further 30 minute rest break must be issued. Workers under 18 cannot work at night, although there are exceptions.

Paying young people

Children under 16 are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage and do not pay National Insurance, so an employer only has to include them on their payroll if the child's income is more than their personal allowance (£11,500). Those aged 16-17 do qualify for the National Minimum Wage which varies depending on what age they are. A registered employer must record and report their pay as part of their running payroll, and if they earn over £113 a week, fulfil the PAYE requirements.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

Our Employment Team will be happy to assist you with any aspect of equality and discrimination issues. Please contact Head of Department, Alexandra Dean, on 01245 228141 or via deana@gepp.co.uk.