Department for Education
Information about employment rights
deals with all issues of equality
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The rules and regulations about emploment under school leaving age.
HM Revenue & Customs is responsible for collecting the bulk of tax revenue, as well as paying Tax Credits and Child Benefits.
What is the minimum wage for young people and apprentices?
Young people, apart from unwaged learners, do qualify for the national minimum wage. For current rates see direct.gov.
When can I employ a school leaver?
You may employ a school leaver, on a full time basis, after they reach their statutory school leaving date, which is the last Friday in June in the academic year of their 16th birthday. This includes young people who turn 16 in July or August.
Who is classed as a young worker?
A young worker is someone who is above the minimum school leaving age and under 18 years old.
How many hours per week can a young person legally work?
All young workers (someone who is over school leaving age but under 18) are limited to working 40 hours a week, 8 hours per day and are entitled to a minimum two consecutive days complete rest per week. See direct.gov for full information.
What hours during the day can a young person legally work?
In most industries young workers (someone who is over school leaving age but under 18) cannot work between 10.00pm and 6.00am or 11.00pm and 7.00am. See direct.gov for full information.
What Health and Safety implications are there when I employ a young person?
The Health and Safety (Young Persons) Regulations 1997 state - “an employer shall not employ a young person unless he has, in relation to risks to the health and safety of the young person(s), made or reviewed an assessment in accordance with these regulations.” Health and Safety Executive
The job involves heavy lifting, what extra measures do I need to take?
You should provide appropriate equipment to help young employees to lift heavy weights, ensure that young employees have access to other staff that can help if they find it difficult, and provide special training relating to safe lifting of heavy items. Health & Safety Executive
Is a young person entitled to time off to study when they start work?
Young employees aged 16-17, who have not reached a Level 2 qualification have the right to paid time off for study or training for approved qualifications. See direct.gov for information.
How can I get help paying for training a new young employee?
Please contact Connexions for up to date information and advice about the different ways to train your young employees and the funding that is available.
Can I refuse to employ someone because they have a disability?
It’s illegal to discriminate unfairly against someone when you are recruiting for a job. The Equality and Human Rights Commission can give you information about the law and advice about good practice. They also explain why employing people with disabilities makes good business sense. Equality and Human Rights Commission
What support is available if I want to employ a young person with a disability?
There are several schemes, services and financial benefits available to help employers to recruit or retain employees with disabilities. See Business Link for more information.
Do young people have to pay National Insurance?
All employees aged 16 and over should pay National Insurance (NI) if they earn over the NI Threshold. NI entitles people to Statutory Sick Pay, unemployment benefit, Maternity Pay and cover for industrial injuries. HM Revenue & Customs
Can I employ someone under school leaving age (legally a “child”)?
To be employed a child worker has to have a work permit and their employer may have to register with the Local Authority.
Do young people have the same rights as employees aged over 18?
Yes, all of the contractual rights your adult workers enjoy apply to young people e.g. holiday pay, contracts of emploment, payslips, breaks, maternity and sick pay, job description etc.