What To Consider When Employing Young Workers

The summer is here and school is out which means that July is one of the most common months where young workers are either looking for part time roles or work experience placements. This is a great opportunity for young people to gain valuable insight into what real working is all about.

However, employment rights differ for young workers who are under 18 years of age, and therefore it is essential that you are on top of the difference in law.

Compulsory School Age

The compulsory school age still remains at 16 however, all individuals at this age must continue to stay in some form of education or work based training such as apprenticeships until they are 18.

We will therefore refer to a Younger Worker as someone under the age of 18.

Differences in Law

These young workers must have:

• A 30-minute break if they work more than 4.5 hours;
• A 12 hr rest break each day;
• A rest break of 48 hours each week;
• Earn no less than the National Minimum Wage of £4.05 per hour

In addition to this there are several Health & Safety obligations that are paramount due to the potential lack of maturity and experience the young worker has and the fact that they are less likely to be aware of hazards the same way a more mature, experienced worker would be.

The HSE website https://www.hse.gov.uk has a great amount of information on this subject which is worth referring to. You will also need to ensure that you have an up to date Health & Safety policy in place.

Workers under the age of 16 (child)

Workers under the age of 16 who have not yet hit the compulsory school leaving age may still be looking for part time work. This is something they can do from the age of 13.

If you are employing a Child, you need to also check the local by-laws issued from time to time from your local authority as some authorities may require some businesses to have a child employment permit first.

This is crucial as if your business did require the child to have a work permit, yet they did not obtain one, the employer risks not being insured against any accidents involving the child.

In addition;

• Children are not permitted to work during school hours or before the hours of 7am or after 7pm;
• If they work for more than 4 hours, Children must be given a break of at least 1 hour;
• If you are employing a Child during school holidays, they need a clear 2 week break without any work during that period.

Please ensure you are clear on all your obligations as the consequences of either breaching the Working Time Directive or failure to pay the National Minimum Wage can have a real detrimental effect on your business.

For further information and clarification, please feel free to contact us for initial FREE advice.