Legal Article - Employment Law

The Children and Young Persons Act: Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations

This legislation prohibits the employment of children of school age, in the following circumstances:

i. Where the child is under 13 years of age

ii. Before the close of school hours on any day on which they are required to attend school

iii. For more than two hours on any day on which they are required to attend school

iv. Before 7 am or after 7 pm on any day

v. For more than 2 hours on any Sunday

vi. Where the job requires them to lift, carry or move anything so heavy as to be likely to cause injury to them.

vii. For more than 12 hours a week during term time

viii. For more than 5 hours ( 13- 14 year olds) or 8 hours (15 Ė 16 year olds) on Saturdays and during school holidays or weekdays.

ix. For more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour.

x. In any occupation prohibited by local by-laws e.g. in an industrial setting or work that may be damaging to health, well being or education.

A permit to employ a child must be obtained from the local education authority, which will specify the employment conditions to be observed. Local authorities have the power to make bye-laws on the employment of children.

The majority of bye-laws currently permit children under 15 to work a maximum of 5 hours a day on Saturdays and school holidays, subject to a maximum of 25 hours per week, and children of 15 and over a maximum of 8 hours a day on Saturdays and school holidays, subject to a maximum of 35 hours per week.

These Acts do not apply to the employment of pupils in the last academic year of compulsory schooling or the preceding summer term where the employment is in accordance with arrangements made or approved by the local education authority with a view to providing work experience as part of their education.

A health and safety risk assessment must be carried out before taking on school age workers.


Published: 24 Mar 2011

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