The Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, 1996, aims to protect the health of young workers to ensure that a young person’s education is not put at risk due to working during the school year.

The Act sets out minimum age limits for employment, rest intervals and maximum working hours for employees who are under the age of 18. It also prohibits the employment of under 18s on late-night work, and also gives a definition of a “child” as meaning any person under the age of 16, whilst “young person” is defined as a person who is between 16 and 18 years of age.

The maximum working week for a young person aged 16 and 17 is 40 hours with a maximum of 8 hours a day, whereas over the age of 18 the maximum working week is 48 hours per week. Under the Act young persons are only permitted to work between 6am and 10pm. Any exceptions to this rule must be provided by regulation which in the case of licensed premises allows work up until 11pm where such a shift does not precede a school day when the young person is attending school.

Rates of pay also differ for young persons under the age of 18, with the National Minimum Wage for young persons being 70% of €8.65 which is the current full National Minimum Wage rate for those over the age of 18.