Employing Child and Young Workers

#HRFridayFact: If you’re offering summer jobs to young and child workers ensure you are compliant with the specific working rules that apply

Some businesses may offer summer jobs to young people and child workers to cover staff holiday and/or increased seasonal demand during the summer holidays. There are certain rules for employing young and child workers that employers must comply with.

In the UK, Children who are below age 16 in their current academic year are classed as child workers. Those between 16 and 18 are classed as young workers. The two groups have specific rules and rights when it comes to employment and even for temporary summer jobs, employers should be aware of and pay heed to these.

Even if you are employing your own son or daughter, you must comply with the rules for child workers which are often governed by local bylaws set out by the local council. It may be a requirement, as it is in Gloucester, to obtain a work permit for example.

There are restrictions for child workers which prohibit them from working under certain conditions. These are:

  • in places like a factory or industrial site
  • before 7am or after 7pm
  • for more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour
  • in most jobs in pubs and betting shops and those prohibited in local bylaws
  • in any work that may be harmful to their health, well-being or education


During school holidays 13 to 14-year-olds are only allowed to work 5 hours per day (2 hours on a Sunday) up to a maximum of 25 hours a week.  15 to 16-year-olds can only work a maximum of 35 hours a week with a maximum 8 hours per day. (Again, 2 hours on a Sunday).

Furthermore all child workers must have a 2-week break from any work during the school holidays in each calendar year.

Young workers cannot usually work more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week and these hours cannot be averaged over a longer period like adult workers under the Working Time Directive. Those who work for more than four and a half hours must have a rest break of 30 minutes. Rest breaks must be taken in one block and at some time during the work period, not at the end.

Young workers should also get 12 uninterrupted hours rest in each 24 hour period in which they work and get two days off each week. These two days should be taken together and cannot be averaged over a two-week period. Ie working 6 days one week and 4 the next.

Full-time students who are just working a holiday job and will be returning to full-time education after the holidays may not need to pay tax through PAYE but will still pay National Insurance if they more than the weekly threshold. As they will have a national Insurance number from age 16 you should put them on your normal payroll.

Young people will be keen to earn some spending money, which makes them targets for exploitation. Remember that the National Minimum Wage will apply and that you have your other employer responsibilities to consider such as ensuring a safe working environment and that no-one is subject to any age discrimination.
For further help and support with employing young people, call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail info@hrchampions.co.uk

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17 August 2017, 12:45
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