Minors and Youth

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. 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.

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 year olds) and 35 hours (for 15 and 16 year olds).

Source: Children and Young Persons Act 1933; www.gov.uk/child-employment/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 olds must not work more than eight hours a day, or more than 40 hours a week. 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 16-18 year olds are also entitled to annual leave like other workers depending on the days they work in a week. The minimum wage rate applicable to 16-18 year workers is £3.72 an hour.

Regulations on Minors and Youth

  • Children and Young Persons Act, 1933
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