Under 16’s & Work

IMPORTANT FACTS – Child Employment

Until children reach the Mandatory School Leaving Age of 18, they can only work a certain number of hours per week and only do certain jobs.

Mandatory School Leaving Age is up to the last Friday in June in the academic year of their 18th birthday (except for Year 11 in 14/15 year where it is 17). After this they have reached the MSLA and they can apply for their National Insurance Number and work full time.

The youngest age children can work part-time is 13 years old except children involved in television, theatre or modelling. 

VIDEO – Watch this funny video made by a teenager about work restrictions for under-16’s. 

IMPORTANT FACTS – Restrictions of Work Available

There are restrictions about what jobs young people can and can’t do

Children may not work:

  • in television, theatre or other similar activities, including modelling, without a performance licence given by your local authority.
  • without an employment permit issued by the education department of the local council, if this is required by local byelaws
  • for more than four hours without taking a break of at least one hour
  • in any occupations prohibited by local byelaws or other legislation, such as pubs and betting shops
  • without having a two week break from any work during the school holidays in each calendar year
  • in any work that may be harmful to their health, well-being or education
  • If you’re under 16, you’re not allowed to work as a street trader, according to Section 20 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.
  • But if you’re at least 14, your local council may have special rules that let you work for your parents in these jobs.

IMPORTANT FACTS – Restrictions on child employment and work hours 

– Not applicable to children involved in performance related work. –

 13 & 14 yr olds15 & 16 yr olds16 & 17:Young Workers
Term Time:Weekdays & Sun2 hours 2 hours8 hours 
Term Time:Saturdays5 hours8 hours8 hours 
School Holiday:Weekdays & Sat5 hours8 hours8 hours 
School Holiday :Sunday2 hours2 hours8 hours 
Hour RestrictionsCannot work:
before 7am or after 7pm during school hours more than 1hr before school     
Cannot work:before 7am or after 7pmduring school hours more than 1hr before school Cannot work between: 10.00 pm to 6.00 am** (or 11pm and 7am) Must take two days off each week. Must have a 12hr uninterrupted hour’s rest in each 24hr period in which you work.
Maximum Hours during term-time12 hours per week 12 hours per week40 hours per week
Maximum Hours during holiday25 hours per week 35 hours per week40 hours per work

**However, there are a few exceptions if you work in:

  • hospitals
  • agriculture
  • retail
  • hotels or catering
  • post or newspaper delivery
  • cultural, sporting, artistic or advertising activities

What Jobs can you do under 13?

  • Paid sport or entertainment with permission from your local authority

What jobs can you do over the age of 13?

  • Paper round
  • Shop work

What jobs can you do at 14?

  • Dog walking
  • Hairdressers
  • Baby sitting
  • Shop work

What jobs can’t you do at 14?

  • Factory work
  • Work on a building site
  • Transport
  • Mining
  • Registered merchant ship

What if you’re 16 and left school?

You become classed as a Young Worker and the previous listed restrictions are no longer applicable. Please note the Government currently state that education or training is compulsory to age 18. 

What if you’re under 16 and doing work experience?

You do not need a work permit for work experience that your school arranges.