Children aged 13 and upwards can be employed part-time but there are restrictions and they may require an employment permit issued by the Education Department of the Council. Most local councils require that an employment permit is issued as this ensures that the employer is insured against accidents. Children do not need a permit for work experience arranged by their school.
During term time children can only work a maximum of 12 hours per week which includes two hours on school days and Sundays. On Saturdays 13 and 14 year olds can work a maximum of 5 hours and 15 and 16 year olds a maximum of 8 hours.
During school holidays 13 and 14 year olds can work a maximum of 25 hours per week – a maximum of 5 hours per day and 2 hours on Sunday.
15 and 16 year olds can work 35 hours per week during school holidays – a maximum of 8 hours per day and 2 hours on Sunday.
Children are not allowed to work:
- In places like a factory or industrial site
- During school hours
- Before 7am or after 7pm
- For more than 1 hour before school (unless local byelaws allow it)
- For more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour
- In most jobs within pubs and betting shops
- In any work which may be harmful to their health, well-being or education
- Without having a 2 week break from any work during the school holidays in each calendar year
Children under 13 can work in theatre, television or modelling but will need a Performance Licence.
Once a child has reached the school leaving age they can be employed full-time up to a maximum of 40 hours per week.
As a child under 16 does not pay National Insurance they will not need to be included on a payroll unless they earn over their tax free allowance. However if you already run a payroll you must include all your employees on that payroll whether or not they are subject to tax and/or NIC deductions. This regulation came into force in April 2013.
TIP If your business can employ part-time staff who earn under the NIC threshold and who are not subject to tax deductions you do not have to be registered as an employer with HMRC and therefore do not have to run a payroll.
But beware - part-time staff may have more than one job and therefore will be subject to tax deduction even if they are under the NIC threshold. Asking your new employee to complete the questions on a P46 or equivalent will highlight whether you will need to deduct tax from their earnings and therefore whether you will need to set up a payroll.
Remember – if you are already registered as an employer all staff, whatever their age, must be included on the payroll.