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Employing Young Workers


10th March 2016

With increasing numbers of school leavers favouring employment over full-time further education employers may find themselves hiring a Young Worker for the first time.

Don't view it as a daunting prospect because the specific requirements associated with employing a person under the age of 18 are very straight forward.

The main restriction is around the number of hours they can work being limited to 40 per week and only in exceptional circumstances can this limit be exceeded. There is also some legislation with regards to rest breaks and rest days as follows:

  • a 30 minute rest break if they work more than 4.5 hours (if possible this should be one continuous break)
  • daily rest of 12 hours
  • weekly rest of 48 hours

Employers have the same responsibilities for Young Worker health, safety and welfare as they do for every other employee so identifying any health and safety risks associated with the job is customary good practice, but in addition, the employer has a responsibility to ensure the Young Worker is not exposed to risk due to:

  • lack of experience
  • being unaware of existing or potential risks and/or
  • lack of maturity

For more detailed information on employing Young Workers visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/, and although the National Living Wage comes in to effect on 1st April it applies only to workers 25 years old and over, so no implications there.

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