If you have a young person starting their first part-time job this summer, it’s important make sure that they – and you – know the rules, restrictions and entitlements going along with their post.
For a young person under the age of 18, working hours are laid out in the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996. This piece of legislation not only sets out their maximum working hours, but also restrictions regarding break entitlements and holidays.
One of the most significant rules under the Act is that young people under the age of 18 years cannot be employed in regular full-time jobs. Under the Act, those under the age of 16 years are referred to as ‘children’, while those aged 16 and 17 are ‘young people’.
14 and 15 (Children)
14- and 15-year-olds can engage in light work as follows:
  • A child of 14 or over can do light work during the holidays; the hours must not exceed seven in one day, or 35 in one week, however.
  • A child of 15 or over (but under 16 years) can work up to eight hours a week during school term time.
  • The case is slightly different where work experience or placement is involved. A child under the age of 16 can work up to eight hours a day, and 40 hours a week, once the placement has been approved and is not harmful to their health, safety or development.
  • Additionally, employers cannot require a child of 14 or 15 to work before 8am or after 8pm.
16 and 17 (Young people)
  • Young people of 16 or 17 are generally not allowed to work before 6am or after 10pm. A later regulation permits young people employed on ‘general duties’ to work up until 11pm, once it is not the day before a school day.
  • A young person can work up to eight hours a day and 40 hours a week.
Parent’s permission
  • You need to provide written permission to an employer if your teen is under 16 years and starting a job. The employer is also legally obliged to see a copy of your child’s birth certificate (or another official document stating their age and identity), and it’s very important to provide this documentation.



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