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Young Workers

There are a number of statutory protections for young people in work. The law in some cases, restricts the jobs that young people can do, and limits the hours they can work. In addition there are particular provisions to protect their health and safety at work.

In general the statutory provisions define a young worker as a person over school leaving age, but less than 18 years.

Restrictions on work

Young workers aged 16-18 years old are not allowed to do work which is too physically, or mentally demanding of them, and they are not allowed to do work which involves bringing them into contact with chemical agents, toxic material or radiation, or work that involves a health risk because of extreme cold or heat, unless:-

a) It is necessary for their training,
b) An experienced person is supervising them, and
c) All risks must be reduced as far as possible.

Workers aged from 16-18 years are restricted to working no more than 40 hours per week, or not more than 8 hours a day. They are entitled to at least 30minutes break when they have worked for 4 & 1/2 hours. There are also limits on night work for these workers – they cannot usually work from 10pm to 6am. There are some exceptions to this rule on night work – for those working in hospitals, agriculture, retail, hotels, catering. In addition the rules on night work for this group does not apply when the employer needs the young worker to maintain continuity of service or production, or to respond to a sudden run in demand, and no adult is available to do the work, and compensatory rest is given at the earliest practical opportunity.

Young workers age, aged 16-18 years old, are entitled to paid holiday like other workers.

Workers under 18 years old are entitled to receive a minimum level of pay. This is set in the National Minimum Wage regulations, but is at a lower rate than adults.

Children under school leaving age

There is NO right to payment of the minimum wage for those under 16 years old. In addition they are not entitled to be paid holiday from work.

Those under the age of 16 years can only be given light work. In particular they are not allowed to work in a factory, in transport, or on a construction site. They are not allowed to do work which may be harmful to their safety, health, or that will affect their attendance at school.

Local authorities set by-laws dealing with rules about the employment of children in their area. Employers are required to obtain a permit from their local authority if they want to employ children or young people under school leaving age. However, by-laws in some areas allow children aged 13 years and above to do paper rounds, and some other light work. There are limits to the hours those under school leaving age may work. They are not allowed to work:-

a) During school hours on any school day,
b) For more than 2 hours on any school day,
c) For not more than 12 hours in any week in which they are required to go to school,
d) Before 7am, or after 7pm,
e) For more than 2 hours on a Sunday,
f) For more than 8 hours on any day which is not a school day or a Sunday (5 hours if you are under 15yrs),
g) For more than 35 hours in any week in which they are not required to go to school (or 25 hours for those aged under 15years),
h) For more than 4 hours in any day without a break of 1 hour.

Employers should check with their local authority for specific provisions regarding working rules for children under school leaving age.

 

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