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Law: Taking on young people

With the summer approaching and school terms seeming to shrink year on year you may be in a position to offer young people work.

Different rules apply depending on age. No child under thirteen may be employed.

For school age young people they require a permit from the local authority and nobody under sixteen may be employed in manufacturing or any dangerous activity. In England and Wales children may leave school on the last Friday in June if they are sixteen or will be sixteen before the start of the next school year.

Any child under sixteen is necessarily under the minimum school leaving age (MSLA).

For a child between thirteen and the MSLA, they may not work

  • outside 7 am – 7 pm
  • more than 2 hours on a weekday or Sunday
  • until after school (bylaws may allow 1 hour before school)
  • more than 12 hours a week in term time
  • more than 5 hours (13-14 year olds) or 8 hours (15-16 year olds) per day on Saturdays or weekdays in school holidays
  • more than 4 hours without a 1 hour minimum break
  • during at least 1 x 2 week break in the school holiday

    You need to do a risk assessment before taking on school age workers and you must adhere to any special local authority rules.

    For young workers over MSLA then working time and national minimum wage rules begin to apply.

    Visit or call 0870 26 77 118 for more information.

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