Have you ever wondered whether or not it’s worthwhile hiring young family members? This employment approach seems to be most prominent in the agricultural sector in the Republic of Ireland – let’s take a look at the legislation that surrounds these circumstances…

Protection of Young Persons

By means of the S.I. No. 2/1997 – Protection of Young Persons (Employment of Close Relatives) Regulations, 1997: It is hereby prescribed that sections 3 , 5 , 6 (1) (a) and 11 of the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, 1996 (No. 16 of 1996), shall not apply to the employment of close relatives.

  • Section 3: the prohibition on employment of children (under 16s)
  • Section 5: the requirement to obtain a birth certificate, the requirement to obtain written permission for employing the child, and the requirement to maintain a register of the child’s working hours.
  • Section 6(1)(a): the limitation on young person’s working no more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.
  • Section 11: the requirement to treat time spent on vocational training as working time.

According to Section 9 of the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, 1996 a “close relative” is defined as an employee who is employed:

(a) by his or her spouse, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, step-father, step-mother, brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister

and (b)(i) in a private dwelling house or on a farm, in or on which both the employee and employer reside

or (ii) in a family undertaking on work which is not industrial work

The employee doesn’t have to reside with the employer to be exempt in this scenario. Another big exemption under young worker legislation is, Section 9(a)(ii) which states the exclusions also apply where the young person works “in a family undertaking on work which is not industrial work”.

What does this mean?

This means that a young person can work in a close relative’s family business under these exclusions, provided the work is not industrial in nature and not just a farm, as outlined in many cases above. Unfortunately, there’s no definition of “industrial work” in the 1996 Act.

To summarise, while hiring young family members can have some benefits, it can also be quite restricted.

If you have any queries regarding the above, or any employment matter at all, please call us for advice on
01 855 50 50, and one of our experienced advisors will be happy to assist.