Employing children… Are you legal?

How to employ children (legally)…

children on work experienceAs summer begins we get lots of questions in the office from employers about employing those under 16yr olds. Often they will have done work experience and got a taste for working or an accountant or other professional has picked up that there are under 16’s working and the owner is unaware that special restrictions apply.

Please don’t be put off by the restrictions; working when young, either in a work experience capacity or doing an actual job, is a tremendously important part of life and hugely significant in terms of a strong career prognosis.

At Amelore HQ we have put together a Q&A sheet to answer any questions you may have.

What counts as employment?

Employment is any work for a trade or occupation carried on for profit or in any commercial enterprise. So these restrictions do not apply to work inside the home like babysitting.

Do the rules apply to children working in their parents’ businesses?

Yes. This includes work done in a parents business and work for which the child is not paid. Such work is illegal and may lead to prosecution unless the employer obtains a permit for each child employed.

What are the legal requirements?

No child under the age of 13 may be employed at all.
No child may work before 7am or after 7pm on any day (this includes weekends and holidays)
No child may work for more than 2 hours on a school day (no more than one hour before school)
No child may work more than 12 hours in any week (including weekends) during school time
No child aged 13/14 may work more than 5 hours a day on Saturdays/holidays (max 25 hours per week)
No child aged 15/16 may work more than 8 hours a day on Saturdays/holidays (max 35 hours per week)
No child may work more than 2 hours on any Sunday

Do school-age workers have to have a holiday?

All children who work must take a two week break from all employment at some time during the year.

Is any area of work prohibited for young people?

The following are strictly forbidden:

Delivering milk
In pubs and skittle alleys
In commercial kitchens
In any industrial undertaking nor factory nor using a dangerous machine (and remember most machines can be dangerous without adequate training or supervision).
In the sorting of rubbish
In a slaughterhouse or butchery
In an amusement arcade or fair- ground

No child can be involved in the collection of money unless supervised by an adult.

Do I have to pay them?

Children under 16 aren’t entitled to the minimum wage.

Children under 16 don’t pay national insurance so you only need to include them on your payroll if their total income is over their personal allowance.

If they are 16/17 they are entitled to at least £3.79 per hour. You’d need to record this on your payroll and if they earn more than £112 the usual payroll tasks kick in.

What steps must I take as an employer to safeguard children working for me?

Carry out a risk assessment. This can be simply a blank piece of paper which you record any possible risks and think about how you will ensure an accident is prevented. Your LA may ask to inspect this and it would certainly be required if there was a reportable accident and the HSE did an investigation.

Check that children using bicycles ensure at all times that the cycle is safely maintained and lights are fitted. It is also strongly recommended that helmets should be worn

Issue personal safety alarms to children who are out on their own or in lonely places, for example, delivering newspapers

Make sure that the children you employ are suitably dressed, for protection where appropriate. So correct personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn if necessary.

Is there anything else to bear in mind?

These regulations do NOT end on the child’s 16th birthday. They apply until a child is of legal school-leaving age— the last Friday in June of the school year in which the child is 16.

What is the registration process?

The employer must contact their local council and complete an application for a work permit, stating the hours and type of work. This form should also be signed by a parent or guardian. The form is then sent to the child’s school for notification. If the work meets the regulations, a work permit will then be issued within two weeks.

Where can I get more information?

Contact your County Council and ask for Child Employment
Education Entitlement & Inclusion services or call Amelore on 01453 548070.