Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the Pink Book of Legislation, we regret that we cannot be responsible for any errors. This guide is not intended to be a definitive statement of the law in England. If you require precise or detailed information on the legislation mentioned in this guide, or on the legal implications for you in particular, you should consult a professional legal adviser.
- There are special requirements that you must comply with if you are employing children under the age of 18.
- It is illegal to employ anyone under the age of 13 and children can only undertake full-time employment once they reach school-leaving age.
- Unless the child is a family member, you must undertake a separate Health and Safety assessment of their position that takes into consideration their age and lack of experience.
- Children aged 16 and 17 are able to serve alcohol in a dining room or restaurant without supervision or behind a bar if each individual sale is approved by a responsible person.
The Children (Protection at Work) Regulations 2000 were introduced to help ensure that children are protected in the workplace and that employers pay special attention to their safety and well-being.
Does this apply to me?
Yes: although there are some exemptions if you are employing a family member on an occasional or short-term basis.
It is not uncommon for small accommodation businesses to provide part-time or occasional employment to the children of friends and family. However, you need to be aware that it is illegal to employ children under the age of 13 to do any type of work (regardless of whether the work is part-time, full-time or the payment is monetary or in kind) and that there are a number of legal requirements and restrictions that govern the employment of children until they become adult workers at the age of 18.
Employing children aged 13-16
Children between the ages of 13 and 16 can only work part-time. There are considerable restrictions on the times at which they can work, the length of time they can work, the places where they can work and the type of work they can undertake. In general, it is illegal to employ children in any work that may be harmful to their health, well-being or education.
While some of these restrictions are set nationally (see the Gov.uk website for restrictions on child employment) there are also local bylaws that restrict the employment of children.
Most local councils also require businesses intending to employ school-aged children to apply for a child employment permit, so it is important that you contact your local council to check the rules in your area.
Employing children aged 16-18
Children can only start full-time work once they've reached the minimum school leaving age of 16. However, children who are over school leaving age but under 18 can only be employed full-time as part of an apprenticeship or traineeship scheme.
There are also specific requirements relating to their hours of work. These employees must not work more than eight hours a day (or more than 40 hours a week) and there must be at least twelve hours' rest between each working day and 48 hours' rest per working week. You must also provide a 30-minute rest break when they work longer than four and a half hours.
There is no minimum pay for children under the age of 16. Children under 16 also do not pay National Insurance, so you only need to include them on your payroll if their total income is over their Personal Allowance.
Children aged 16 and 17 are entitled to at least £4.00 per hour and, if they earn more than £112 a week, you will need to register them as an employee and operate PAYE.