Employing young people under 16

Employing young people

Young people can only be employed on a full-time basis after they reach their compulsory school leaving date.  This is always the last Friday in June in the academic year of their 16th birthday.  This leaving date also applies to young people who are not sitting their GCSEs (or equivalent) and those who will reach their 16th birthday in July or August.

There are strict rules governing the hours a child is allowed to work and the type of work a child can do.

  • It is illegal to employ a child under the age of 13, unless they are taking part in a paid performance, sport or modelling and in such circumstances you have to obtain a child performance licence
  • Children aged 13 may only be employed if your local authority allow it
  • If your local authority does allow it, the hours, times and types of work allowed may be restricted. You may even need a child work permit

Your local authority will have more information and support.

Hours of work

There are special regulations for young workers, which restrict their working hours.  The rest break is 60 minutes if their work lasts more than four hours. They are also entitled to two days off each week.  

Children under school age must not work during school hours on a school day or for more than two hours on any school day.  The rules are different for term time and school holidays.  More information can be found here

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