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Points to Remember
Under school leaving age...
- Unless local by-laws exist, employers are generally not permitted to employ a child under the age of 13, unless the work is in relation to modelling, paid performance and sports.
- Children under school leaving age can only perform 'light work' and cannot work before 7am or after 7pm on any day, for more than 2 hours on any day when they are required to be at school, or more than 12 hours in any school week. Working on Saturdays is restricted to 5 hours for 14 year olds, and 8 hours for 15/16 year olds, as is work on weekdays during school holidays. A maximum of 25 hours a week during school holidays can be worked by 14 year olds, and 35 hours for 15/16 year olds.
- There must be 2 weeks during the school holidays where no work is performed. Employers must also ensure a licence/permit is obtained from the local authority in relation to the child’s employment, unless the work is arranged as part of work experience from school.
Over school leaving age....
- Where an individual is over school leaving age (this can include 15/16 year olds), but under 18, they are permitted to work a maximum of 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week, with no opt out provision. Such young workers are entitled to 30 minutes break if working time is 4.5 hours or more, 12 hours rest in a 24 hour period and 48 hours rest in a seven day period, giving more advantageous entitlements than adult workers. These workers are entitled to minimum statutory holidays, currently 5.6 weeks.
- All workers under 18 cannot be employed in an industrial undertaking (unless as part of a family firm where only the family works), including any manufacturing, or in the construction or repair of buildings, nor in any work that poses a risk to their health and safety. Risk assessments should also be carried out on the work that anyone under 18 will carry out.
The legal responsibilities involved in the employment of people who are under 18 are different to those involved with employing adults. Employment law covering under 18s is again broadly split in to two categories; rules affecting those under school leave age; and rules affecting those over school leaving age.