Young WorkerWith the school summer holidays just around the corner you may be wondering if you can employ a young person to help you out in your business.  The benefits for both you, as an employer, and the potential employee can be valuable.  The young person will learn useful life as well as workplace skills, gain experience working as part of a team, and will earn some money in the process.  As an employer you will be  providing a young person with an insight into the world of work and will be responsible for guiding the employee and laying the foundations for them to build on in future jobs.  

But are there any restrictions on who you can employ?

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.

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.

The National Minimum Wage must be paid to 16 and 17 year olds, but there is no minimum rate for under 16s. If you already have a payroll they must be included as soon as they start work for you.  If you are not registered as an employer you do not have to register until your employ earns £118 or more per week (2019-20).  National Insurance contributions are due on earnings above this level.

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. 

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.

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.