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SKU: 3.21
  • Advice

    What is the minimum age for a child to work? In the UK, children are permitted to work full-time once they are 16-years-old. However, children can begin working earlier on in life. 

    • At the age of 13, only 'light work' jobs. 
    • At the age of 14, fewer restrictions on the nature of the job, but some restrictions still apply. 
    • Once the child is 16, they are referred to as a 'young worker'. What are 'light work' jobs? 'Light work' refers to safe employment. Such roles would include shop work, including shelf stacking, hairdressing salons, office work and domestic work in hotels etc. 


    Proof of Age

    An employer must acquire evidence of age to confirm that the young worker is eligible to work before commencing the role. If proof of age is not attained, the employer will be subject to fines or even, in some cases, prosecution. 


    Children Wages – Under 16's 

    Those under the age of 16 are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage. This means that there is no set hourly rate for them to be paid. Additionally, because they do not contribute to National Insurance, those under 16's do not need to be added onto the payroll (except if their earning capacity surpasses the personal allowance). 


    Children Wages – 16 to 17's 

    Once a person has reached 16 years of age, they are entitled to a minimum wage. Registered employers are required to keep a detailed record of their employee's wages for the running payroll. Additionally, in circumstances where an employee earns a minimum of £120 per calendar week (as of Dec 2021), the employer is obligated to register them with PAYE for the relevant deductions. 


    Health & Safety Obligations 

    Employers are obligated to commence a risk assessment. Any information about the risk assessment is to be handed to either the child's parent or guardian when a young person is involved. General obligations regarding health and safety are as follows: 

    • No work that is beyond the child's capacity;
    • No proximity to harmful substances; and
    • Safe location and low chances of mishaps due to lack of experience.

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