Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Children and young people under school leaving age (England and Wales only)

There are strict limits to the hours children and young people under school leaving age (see under heading General rules on employment) are allowed to work. School leaving age is defined as the last Friday in June of the year in which a child may legally leave school.

You must not work:-

*during school hours on any school day

*for more than two hours on any school day or for more than 12 hours in any week in which you are required to go to school

*for more than two hours on a Sunday

*for more than eight hours (five hours if you are under 15) on any day which is not a school day or a Sunday

*before 7am or after 7pm

*for more than 35 hours (25 if you are under the age of 15) in any week in which you are not required to go to school

*for more than four hours in any day without a break of one hour

*at any time, if during the 12 months beginning 1 January, working means that you have not had two uninterrupted weeks of holiday from school.


  1. So, in other words, they really don't want anyone of school age to have a job, period. Is this a new set of regulations? Nothing anywhere near this restrictive exists here. All that I can think of offhand are restrictions on the age at which a person may work alone, for obvious safety reasons. Some employers will also ask for a note from a school and parents, before hiring a minor, but I don't think that this is a law.

    I really feel for you and your young employees. I worked almost full-time during the school year and it didn't harm me in the least. Granted, I was a very good student, but even those less academically gifted managed to balance school and work just fine.

  2. I don't know if it is new, I was unaware of it before our local council told me this yesterday. I am also sure that many other small restaurants in the area are as in the dark about this as I was.

    We have to get a work permit for the U-18 staff now as well, but as they are all working with their parents permission that isn't a problem.

    The result is I have had to sack the two youngest girls, and drastically cut hours from 3 others until the end of June, which just happens to be our busiest trading period of the year.

  3. Bummer, mate. So they don't let the school age kids work very much, but then also encourage them to go to uni straight after, and waiter(ess)ing is a job that suits youngsters.
    I'm guessing you find it hard to hire people over 21 worth hiring?
    Hard on the ones you have had to let go/reduce hours of, but the law is the law (even if it is an ass sometimes), it's not your fault.

  4. Yes, for Gods sake, let's not instill a work ethic into young people.

    It's a bug*er for you and for them as I don't suppose they'd have been doing it if they didn't need to or want to.

  5. Now I understand your Facebook comment. What a pile of sxxx. It really does make you wonder who dreams these laws up. Some frustrated nobody who couldn't get a paper round when they were younger?

    Sorry to hear this and I'm sorry for your staff.

  6. Maybe you could just let them "hang around" the place and in return give them an "allowance" against which they could claim for the things they need. You might have to watch for bogus claims for things like cleaning their swimming pools, but playstation games or clothes and household items from Rackhams would probably be fine. So their "hanging around" isn't actualy confused with "working" you could just have them make "animal noises" if someone you don't recognise comes in.

  7. It's something we get asked a lot about where I work, but that's in Scotland. I think the law's pretty similar and it's certainly been around for years. In Scotland local councils can also add additional by-laws about it too.

    I think the 2 hours on Sunday thing particularly sucks, I can see why you might not want school pupils working all weekend but surely this could be calculated differently.

    I remember my younger sisters having to get some kind of permit from Bradford LEA when they delivered the free papers in Ilkley.

    Simon's idea is good though!