Going Out To Work
There are different levels of National Minimum Wage, depending on your age and whether you are an apprentice.
If you are of compulsory school age you are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage. Some of your other employment rights are also different.
Are you old enough to have a job?
If you're under 13, you cannot legally be employed, although you can take part In paid sport or entertainment with permission from the local authority. Once you reach the age of 13, you may be allowed to be employed to do 'light work'. This is work which Is not likely to affect your health, safety or education. Things you can do may include shop work or taking on a paper round
When you're 14, you can be employed In a wide range of Jobs, but there are still some that you can't do. For example you may not work In factories or on a building site.
These restrictions last until you become 16 and have left school, when you become classed as a young worker. This means that you'll have more choice In the jobs you can do. If you are 18 or over, you get the same work rights as adults.
There are rules that regulate what times of the day you can work and for how long. These are different depending on your age.
14 Year Olds
There are a lot of rules that control working hours of children, but the basic ones are:
- During term time, you can only work for two hours on weekdays and Sundays
- During term time, you can only work for five hours on Saturdays
- During a school holiday, you can work for up to five hours on a week day or a Saturday
- During a school holiday, you cant work for more than two hours on a Sunday
- You cannot work before 7.00 am or after 7.00 pm on any day
15 and 16 year olds
If you're 15 or 16 and are working while you're still at school, your rights are almost identical to those of 14 year olds, However, you are allowed to work for up to eight hours on Saturdays or during the school holidays.
16 and 17 year olds
If you're no longer at school and you're 16 or 17, the law refers to you as a 'young worker'. Because you will no longer be at school, there are fewer restrictions on when you can work and for how long, but there are still some rules.
Because you've reached school leaving age, you may find that employers may be more willing to offer you part-time or full-time employment. You're also not limited to just'light work', so you'll be allowed to work In places like a busy shop, restaurant kitchen or as a waiter or waitress.