Young Workers under 18 years of age

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Written by: alcumus
26th July

Young workers under 18 cannot work without an employment permit issued by the education department of the local council and the minimum age of a young person you can employ part-time is 13 years old. There are exceptions for this rule if the employment is in the television, theatre, or modelling industries but these young workers will need a performance licence.

What do employers need to employ a young worker?

Most local councils say that if you intend on hiring someone under 18, you must apply for a child employment permit before they are employed. If employed without a permit, there’s a risk that the business insurance won’t cover accidents involving the young worker under 18.

Local Councils also have restrictions on the types of jobs that young workers under 18 can do, their working hours, conditions of work and types of employment. Check your local council’s education department for more information.

If the young worker under 18 is doing work experienced arranged by the school, a work permit is not needed.

Restrictions on Young Workers under 18

Children are not allowed to work:

  • In factories or industrial sites;
  • During school hours;
  • Before 7am;
  • After 7pm;
  • For more than one hour before school in term time* (unless local bylaws allow it);
  • For more than 4 hours without a break of at least 1 hour;
  • In work that may be harmful to their health, education, or wellbeing;
  • Without having a 2 week break from any work during school holidays*.

*During term time, the young worker under 18 can only work a maximum of 12 hours a week, including:

  • 2 hours on school days or Sundays
  • A maximum of 5 hours on Saturdays for 13-14 year olds
  • A maximum of 8 hours for 15-16 year olds.

*During school holidays, the following rules apply:

  • 13-14 year olds can only work a maximum of 25 hours a week including:
    • A maximum of 5 hours on weekdays and Saturdays
    • A maximum of 2 hours on Sundays
  • 15-16 year olds can only work a maximum of 35 hours a week, including:
    • A maximum of 8 hours on weekdays and Saturdays
    • A maximum of 2 hours on Sundays

Pay for Young Workers under 18

Once a young worker reaches minimum school leaving age, they can work a maximum of 40 hours per week. Young workers under 16 do not pay National Insurance and do not need to be paid at National Minimum Wage. You would, however, need to include them on your payroll if their total income is over their personal allowance. Once they reach 16, you must pay them in line with National Minimum Wage and  they must be paid through PAYE if they earn more than £123 per week as you will need to make deductions.

Once they reach 18 years of age, the adult employment rights apply but until they are 18, they must remain in part time education or training, such as an apprenticeship.

If you would like more information regarding this, we have a team of HR experts ready to support you.

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