Employing young people over the holiday period

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With the long summer holidays ahead, we thought it might be useful to understand the restrictions in employing young people and children.

There are restrictions on the working time for adult workers contained in the Working Time Regulations 1998 but there are a completely different set of regulations relating to the employment of young people and children which must be considered.

Make sure that you keep detailed records of the hours that children and young people work for you as you could be asked to produce these by the Health and Safety Executive. Review the hours worked on a monthly basis to ensure you are not breaching the legal restrictions.

Employers are required to carry out a risk assessment of the work they are considering giving to a child or young person and must inform the individual of the outcome of the assessment and given them any necessary training.

Ensure that you have a thorough induction process, making them aware of the rest breaks that they are entitled to and the maximum hours they are permitted to work. Give them health and safety training and only allow them to work when there is appropriate adult supervision available.

So, what are the regulations?

Young people aged under 18 years must:
  • have a rest period of at least 12 hours in every 24 hour period
  • have a rest period of at least 30 minutes after working for four-and-a-half hours
  • have a rest period of at least 48 hours in every seven-day period
  • not work more than 8 hours a day or more than 40 hours per week
  • not work between 10.00pm and 6.00am unless they have had a health assessment prior to starting work and repeated regularly.
Children aged under 16 years must have a break of at least two weeks during the school holidays in every calendar year and cannot work:
  • without an employment permit if the local by-laws require this. A permit is issued by the education department of the local council
  • in a factory, industrial site or similar location
  • in a pub, betting shop and any other location prohibited by local by-laws
  • in any work that is harmful to their health, well-being or education
  • during school hours
  • before the hours of 7am or after 7pm
  • for more than one hour before school (unless it is allowed by local by-laws)
  • for more than four hours without taking a break of at least one hour.
During term time:
  • children can only work up to 12 hours per week
  • they can work a maximum of two hours on school days and Sundays
  • if children are aged 13 to 14 years, they can work a maximum of five hours on Saturdays
  • if children are aged 15 to16 years, they can work a maximum of eight hours on Saturdays
During school holidays 13 to 14 year olds:
  • can work a maximum of 25 hours a week
  • can work a maximum of five hours on weekdays and Saturdays
  • can work a maximum of two hours on Sundays
During school holidays 15 to 16 year olds:
  • can work a maximum of 35 hours a week
  • can work a maximum of eight hours on weekdays and Saturdays
  • can work a maximum of two hours on Sundays
Children aged under 13 years are not permitted to work, other than in professions such as acting or modelling. Children will require a performance licence to work, which is issued by the local council. The terms of employment must comply with any restrictions placed by the council

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