Employing Children & Young People

Last Updated
July 20, 2010

Children under 13

  • Under the Children and Young Persons Act no child under 13 may be employed.
  • There is an exception for certain types of performance, such as acting, where a part can only be undertaken by a child of that age.
  • Working hours are strictly controlled and they must have a permit issued by the Local Authority, normally the education welfare service.

Workers under 16

  • Strict rules govern the employment of workers who are at least 13 but under 16 – even those just doing a paper round.
  • They will also require a permit from your Local Authority.
  • Nobody under 16 may be employed in manufacturing or any dangerous activity.

Workers under 18

  • Workers who are at least 16 but under 18 must not work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week.
  • They must have: a break of 30 minutes every 4.5 hours; a rest period of 12 hours between each working day; and two days off a week.
  • They are entitled, except for Apprentices, to the National Minimum Wage level for their age group.

Young workers aged 18 and over

  • Depending on the type of employment, you may still have special responsibilities to young workers, even when they are over the age of 18.
  • They are entitled, except for Apprentices under 19, to the National Minimum Wage level for their age group.

More information

Age Discrimination – Recruitment, References, Pay, Benefits & Retirement Age Discrimination – Training, Promotion, Dismissal & Redundancy Age Discrimination – Between Employees

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