Child and Young Workers
Young people & employment
Working hour regulations differ between age categories - while a child is legally allowed to become an employee when reaching 14 years of age, the restrictions are tighter and authorised working hours are fewer.
General restrictions range from hourly limits to government-set working times; for example, a 14-year-old cannot work before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. It is also illegal for an employee aged 14 years to be working during term time for longer than two hours per day between Sunday and Friday, and on Saturday they may work for no longer than five hours.
During school holidays, the rules are more lenient, allowing a 14-year-old employee to work up to five hours daily between Monday to Saturday and two hours on a Sunday.
For those below school leaving age, the National Minimum Wage rules do not apply.
15- to 16-year-old workers
Rights for those in full-time education between 15 and 16 years are still the same as those at 14 years, with the exception of Saturdays and school holiday working, where up to eight hours per day are allowed. Additionally, workers of 16 years and above are entitled to the National Minimum Wage of their category.
National Minimum Wage is divided into age set subsections, and the rates change annually with inflation. Please see our National Minimum Wage section for more details.
If an employee of 16 years is not in education, then they are classed as a ‘young worker’. The law is more lenient for young workers, though some restrictions do apply.
16- to 17-year-old workers
Employers are more likely in most instances to employ a young person who is above the school leaving age. This is because an employee of this age range will usually have fewer commitments during what would otherwise be their working hours. As a young worker, the employee would also not be restricted to ‘light work’, enabling them to work in a more demanding environment.
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