Employing Children and Young People
Posted on by Angela Rhodes
School children are often employed in the retail sector as Saturday staff or during the school holidays and many companies employ students and teenagers who have just left school. Children are those individuals under the minimum school leaving age and young workers or young people are those who are aged above the compulsory school leaving age of 16 and under 18. The earliest date that a young person can start full-time employment in England and Wales is the last Friday in June when they have completed year 11. It is not permitted for them to leave before that date even if they are already 16 years old. Local authority bylaws may allow children to undertake certain types of light work before the age of 14, but the general rule is that they must be 14 years of age to be employed. Children cannot be employed in the following circumstances:
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- before the end of school hours on any day when they must attend school
- or more than two hours on any day when they are required to attend school
- before 7.00 a.m. or after 7.00pm on any day
- where the job requires them to lift or carry anything heavy which is likely to cause them injury.
- during school terms national working time limits are 2 hours for weekdays, 5 hours for Saturdays, (8 if the child is 15 or over) and 2 hours for Sundays
- during school holidays, national working time limits are 5 hours for weekdays and Saturdays (8 if the child is 15 or over) within a weekly limit of 25 hours (35 if the child is 15 or over) and 2 hours for Sundays.
- a daily rest break should be provided of not less than 12 hours in each 24 hour period during which the young worker works for the employer
- a rest break for the young worker should be given of at least 30 minutes after 4.5 hours work
- a weekly rest period of two days in every seven day period should be scheduled with days to be taken consecutively where possible.
- free health assessments need to be offered to young workers before starting night work between the hours of 10pm and 6am and at regular intervals during their employment
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