At What Age Can Kids Get a Job?

Having a job can give kids much-needed responsibility, help them learn new skills, commit to deadlines and meet new people. But at what age can your kids get a job outside of the home?

There are many benefits to be had for kids who have a job at a weekend, or in the evenings, not least that of earning their own money.

Even though they may have earned some money from doing jobs around the home in the past, when they’re working for someone else, they’ll need to be more responsible, manage their time properly and respond well to instructions – all of which don’t always work out effectively when simply working for mum or dad!

Of course, kids can’t just go out and get a job whenever they feel like it. In fact, for under 18 year old who want to work, there are some restrictions regarding at what age they can work, what type of work they can do and when they can do it.

When Can Kids Work?

The earliest age at which a child can work is 13 years old – before that, they can not be legally employed, although they are allowed to take part in what the government classes as ‘paid sport’ or ‘entertainment’.

When kids reach the age of 13, they’re legally allowed to be employed to do light work. Light work is classed as anything that doesn’t affect a kids safety, education or health and could be jobs such as a paper round or working in a shop.

At the age of 14, the net widens slightly, and kids can be employed in a greater variety of jobs.

Once the age of 16 is reached, the restrictions ease, and kids are now classed as a young worker. There’s more choice available in the type of work that can be legally carried out. This increases again at the age of 18, when adult work rights kick in.

What Hours Can Kids Work?

There are quite strict rules and regulations regarding the number of hours kids of different ages are allowed to work, plus the time of day they’re permitted to do employed work.

In the case of 14 year olds, they’re allowed to work:

  • For two hours on weekdays and Sundays during term time.
  • For five hours on Saturdays during term time.
  • For up to five hours on a week day or a Saturday during school holidays.
  • For no more than two hours on a Sunday during school holidays.

They’re also not allowed to work before 7.00am or after 7.00pm on any day.

For 15 and 16 year olds who are still at school, the rules are basically the same as those for 14 year olds. The only difference is that they’re allowed to work for up to eight hours during school holidays or on Saturdays.

There are fewer restrictions governing the working hours of 16 and 17 year olds, who are classed as young workers.

If you have any worries regarding the employment of kids in your area, or are concerned about the type of job they should or shouldn’t be doing, then your local authority is a good port of call for queries.


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