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Employment of Young People
17 March 2013

Something I’m often asked about is the employment of young people - is there a minimum age? What to pay them?

So here are my top 10 tips for employing those under the age of 18:

  1. For the purposes of the relevant legislation, a young person (or minor) is someone aged 16 or 17, while a child is someone under school leaving age. 

  2. In general, the law prohibits the employment of children under the age of 14, and it is not permissible to employ children of any age in an industrial undertaking

  3. An employer that wishes to employ a child must obtain a permit from the local education authority which may set out certain conditions that must be adhered to

  4. Provisions in the Education and Skills Act 2008 will, from 2013, require young people to continue to participate in education or training until they reach the age of 17 (18 from 2015).

  5. Some local authorities permit the employment of children who have reached the age of 13, in certain types of work, for example:

  • agricultural or horticultural work, on an occasional basis, and working under the direct supervision of a parent;
  • the delivery of newspapers;
  • shop work such as shelf stacking;
  • office work;
  • work in a restaurant or café, although not in the kitchen; and
  • domestic work in hotels and other establishments offering accommodation to the public.
  1. Children must not be employed:

  • during school hours on any day on which the child is required to attend school;
  • before 7 am and after 7 pm on any day;
  • for more than two hours on any school day, or more than one hour before school;
  • for more than two hours on any Sunday;
  • for more than 12 hours in any week that includes a school day.
  1. On non-school days (excluding Sundays), children aged 13 and 14 may be employed for up to five hours. Working hours must not exceed 25 in any one week. Children aged 15 and 16 (if under school leaving age) may work for up to eight hours on any non-school day (excluding Sundays). Working hours may not exceed 35 in any one week

  2. Night working is generally prohibited for young persons between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am or (if the young person's contract so specifies) between 11 pm and 7 am.

  3. Make sure that young people under 18 years of age are not required to work more than eight hours a day and 40 hours a week, and that they are granted their statutory weekly and daily rest breaks under the Working Time Regulations 1998.

  4. Carry out specific risk assessments in relation to the employment of young people under 18 years of age. Information is available on the HSE website here:


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