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Minors and Youth

This page was last updated on: 2021-09-18

Minimum Age for Employment

The youngest age a child can work part-time is 13, except children involved in areas like television, theatre or modelling. Children working in these areas need a performance license/permit. If the child will be without their parent, school teacher or home tutor, then they will need to be supervised by a chaperone approved by the council. Children aged 14–16 may only do light work. Jobs that they must not do include delivering milk; selling alcohol, cigarettes, or medicines; working in a kitchen or chip shop; using dangerous machinery; or work that may cause them any kind of injury. Children can only start full-time work once they have reached the minimum school leaving age. Most employers recruiting workers from abroad will only consider applications from people aged 18 or over. A child may not be employed before 7.00 a.m. or after 7.00 p.m. In England, a young person must be in part-time education or training until they are 18.

There are certain restrictions on child employment. Children cannot work without an employment permit issued by the education department of the local council; in places like a factory or industrial site; during school hours; before 7am or after 7pm; for more than one hour before school; for more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour, in pubs and casinos/gambling places; in any work that may be harmful to their health, well-being or education. During the school term, children can work a maximum of 12 hours a week while during school holidays, the maximum weekly working hours are 25 hours (for 14 and 15-yearolds) and 35 hours (for 15 and 16-yearolds).

Source: Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (www.gov.uk/childemployment/ minimum-ages-children-can-work

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work is set as 18 years. Minors under 18 may not be engaged in work that is likely to be harmful to the safety, health and development of the children and the work that is harmful to their attendance at school.

A young person who is over school leaving age and under 18 cannot be employed in work which he/she is not physically or mentally capable of doing; brings him/her into contact with chemical agents, toxic material or radiation; and/or involves a health risk because of extreme cold, heat or vibration.

The 16-18 years old must not work more than eight hours a day, or more than 40 hours a week. Children can only start full-time work once they’ve reach minimum school leaving age, then they can work up to 40 hours a week. When a child reaches 18, normal adult employment rights and laws apply.

They must have twelve hours' rest between each working day, and 48 hours' rest per working week. They are also entitled to a 30-minute rest break when they work for more than four and a half hours. Young person cannot usually work between 10pm and 6am. The 16 to 18-year old are also entitled to annual leave like other workers depending on the days they work in a week. The minimum wage rate applicable to 16 to 18-year workers is £4.05 an hour. School aged children are not entitled to National Minimum Wage. 

Regulations on Minors and Youth

  • Children and Young Persons Act, 1933
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