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Can my child get a summer job and what does the law say about teenagers working in and out of school time?



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After two weeks of the summer holidays have you got older children now starting to get under your feet?

If they're draining the electricity and your bank account - now could be the time for them to start looking for a bit of work to earn some extra cash.

Rules differ for school holidays and term time employment, but paid work is mostly permitted for teenagers over the age of 13.

Are you willing your teenager to get up and find a job? Image: iStock.
Are you willing your teenager to get up and find a job? Image: iStock.

Here's what the rules say:

When can children work?

The youngest age that a child can work part time is 13 - except children involved in areas like theatre, television or modelling. Children of all ages working in these fields must have a performance licence before they can carry out any paid work or take part in a performance that an audience pays to see.

Children can only start full time work once they reach the minimum age for leaving school and then they can work for up to a maximum of 40 hours per week. Albeit it's worth pointing out than in England, between the ages of 16 and 18, while a child can leave school they must either stay in full time education, start some form of apprenticeship or spend up to 20 hours working or volunteering while also in some form of part time education or training.

Once a teenager reaches 18, adult employment rights and rules will then apply.

At what age did your teenager get their first summer job? Image: iStock.
At what age did your teenager get their first summer job? Image: iStock.

Working during term time

Teenagers can work around their studies but understandably, during term time, the number of hours they can work is somewhat restricted depending on their age.

During the school term children must only work for a maximum of 12 hours a week - this includes no more than two hours on school days and Sundays.

On Saturdays, children who are aged 13 and 14, can work for a maximum of five hours and those aged 15 and 16 are permitted to work for up to eight hours but breaks must be included.

The amount of hours teens can work on a Saturday is limited. Image: iStock.
The amount of hours teens can work on a Saturday is limited. Image: iStock.

What about during the holidays?

Understandably, the rules relax during the school holidays to enable children to work a bit more for extra money when less consideration needs to be given to their education.

Children aged 13 and 14, during their school break, are allowed to work a maximum of 25 hours each week, including no more than five hours on weekdays or a Saturday and no more than two hours on a Sunday.

Teens aged 15 and 16 however can increase their working week to a maximum of 35 hours - including up to eight hours on a weekday or Saturday and a maximum of two hours on a Sunday. Again, breaks must also be included.

The government offers guidelines for employers and employees when it comes to their first jobs. Image: iStock.
The government offers guidelines for employers and employees when it comes to their first jobs. Image: iStock.

Child employment permits

According to the gov.uk website, most councils are likely to insist that business intending to employ school-aged children must apply for a child employment permit before they can invite them to start work.

If a child takes on a job without such a permit, there is a risk that the employer would not be insured against any form of accident involving their young worker.

Children, however, do not need a work permit for work experience if it has been arranged through their school.

Paid work from the age of 13 is possible, especially during the school holidays. Image: iStock.
Paid work from the age of 13 is possible, especially during the school holidays. Image: iStock.

Pay

School aged children, under 16, are not entitled to the national minimum wage and they do not pay National Insurance, so businesses do not need to include them on the payroll unless their total income is over their personal allowance for tax purposes.

Young workers, who are aged 16 and 17, are entitled - says the government website - to be paid at least £4.81 an hour.

Registered employers will need to record and report their pay as part of the payroll and if they're earning over £123 each week other PAYE tasks may also need carrying out like making the relevant deductions.

The government offers guidelines for employers and employees when it comes to their first jobs. Image: iStock.
The government offers guidelines for employers and employees when it comes to their first jobs. Image: iStock.

Are there any restrictions on the work teenagers can do?

There are several restrictions on where and when teenagers are allowed to work, whether this is during term time or the school holidays.

Alongside working within an employment permit, if required by the local council, youngsters must also not take up work in places like factories or on industrial sites or do any job that may be harmful to their 'health, education or well-being'.

No work must happen during school hours, before 7am or after 7pm or for more than one hour before their school day starts.

Teens must also not work for any more than four hours without taking a break of at least one hour, according to nationwide employment laws.

And just like adults - they are entitled to time off too if taking up what turns out to be a long-standing role - and must not work without having a two-week break from their employment during the school holidays in each calendar year.



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