Youth Employment

Opportunities and regulations for part-time work for teenagers in the United Kingdom...

There are strict laws regarding child employment in the UK until children reach the Mandatory School Leaving Age (MSLA). MSLA is the last Friday in June of the school year of the teenager's 16th birthday.

Children under 13 can not work at all in the UK, and there are strict guidelines for teenagers between 13 and 16. Teenagers can only do light work which is not likely to affect their health, safety or education.

The main rules are:

  • No one under 13 can work
  • At 13 children can do light work, for example shop work or a paper round
  • At 14 children can be employed in a larger range of jobs, but there are restrictions. They can not work in factories or on a building site, for example
  • When a child has reached 16 and has left school, they are called young workers, with more rights than other children but not the same as someone 18 or over, who has the same work rights as an adult
  • A child may not work more than 12 hours a week during term/school time
  • Child employment laws are clearly laid out on the government's website: Click here

Teenagers aged 16 or 17 who are no longer in school, called Young Workers, may work up to 40 hours a week and eight hours a day. They must have two days a week off and may not work between 22:00 and 06:00, unless working in the following fields: hospitals, agriculture, retail, hotels or catering, post or newspaper delivery, cultural, sporting, artistic or advertising activities. If they work a five day week they are entitled to 28 days holiday per year.

  • For further information on working hours and young workers: Click here

Summer Jobs

The basic rules on working hours for 13 and 14 year olds during the holidays are:

  • They can work for up to five hours on a week day or a Saturday
  • They can only work up to 25 hours a week during holidays
  • They can not work for more than two hours on a Sunday
  • They can not work before 07:00 or after 19:00 on any day

For 15 and 16 year olds:

  • They are allowed to work for up to eight hours, for 35 hours a week
  • They can not work for more than two hours on a Sunday