Know your obligations when hiring young people for your business
 

The Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996 applies to employees under the age of 18. The act categorises a child as someone who is under the age of 16 years and a young person means someone who has reached 16 but is less than 18 years of age. Below are a series of FAQs in relation to the employment of children and young persons.

 

What are the maximum hours per week that a child or young person can work?

 

The table below sets out the maximum hours per week that children and young persons can work during term time, holiday work and work experience:

 

Maximum hours of work per week

 

14 years

15 years

16-17 years

Term time

Nil

8 hours

8 hours

Holiday work

35 hours

35 hours

40 hours

Approved work experience

40 hours

40 hours

40 hours

 

During the summer holidays, employees under the age of 16 must have at least 21 days free from work.

 

What are the rest breaks and time off allowed for employees under 16 years?

 

Child employees must receive a 30-minute break for every four hours they work, and they must receive a consecutive period of rest for 14 hours in every 24 hours. They should receive two days off together where this is practical.

 

What are the rest breaks and time off allowed for employees aged 16-17 years?

 

They must receive a 30-minute break for every four and half hours they work, and they must receive a consecutive period of rest for 12 hours in every 24 hours. They should receive two days off together where this is practical.

 

Can an employee who is under 16 years do early morning work or night work?

 

They cannot start work before 8am and they must finish work by 8pm.

 

How about employees who are aged 16 and 17 years old, can they start work earlier and finish later?

 

They can start work from 6am and must finish work by 10pm.

 

What records should I keep when employing children or young persons?

 

Businesses will need to retain the following documents for three years which must be shown should they receive a Workplace Relations (NERA) inspection:

 

  • A copy of the employee’s birth certificate or other documentation that proves their age
  • The full name and date of birth of the employee
  • A record of their hours of work which includes their start and finish times as well as rest periods
  • Their rate of pay and the total amount paid
  • If employing a child (14-15 years old) you must have the written permission from the parent or guardian

 

I have a young person working in my business and they have a second job, what is my obligation?

 

They can only work in your business if the total number of hours working for both employers in one day does not exceed the hours which they could have worked for a single employer. An example of this might be that a young person works three hours in job A and four hours in job B in the one day. However, if they worked eight hours in job A they would not be able to work in job B on that day.

 

What other obligations should I fulfill when hiring employees under 18 years?

 

You must display an abstract of the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996 where it can be easily seen and easily read.

 

You will need to give a copy of the official summary of the Act to all employees who are under 18 years of age so that they are aware of their rights along with the other details of their terms of

employment within one month of taking up a job. Click here to view the full act.

 

For further information on employing young people or if you have any other HR issues, please contact Helen Quinn on helen.quinn@sfa.ie or 01 605 1668.

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