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August 23rd, 2017
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Are you looking for the next junior apprentice?

Entered by: Heidi Rush @ 16:07:21 on 11/06/10

Lord Sugar has recently just finished the first series of Junior Apprentice, in which he gave ten sixteen and seventeen year olds the opportunity to demonstrate their business skills and win the chance of a £25,000 fund to support their future.


If this has inspired you to take on a young employee, here is the legal position with regards to employment and health and safety for you to bear in mind.


1) Young people are defined as over school leaving age and under 18.

2) You can only employ a young person aged 16 or over, if they have left full time education.

3) The earliest a 16 year old official leaves school is the last Friday in June, in which they turn 16.

4) Until 18, they must

Not work more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week

  • Have a minimum 12 hour rest break between finishing work and starting the next day
  • Have two rest days per working week
  • A 30 minute break, having worked more than four and half hours
  • Special rules on night working such as no work to be undertaken after 10pm and before 6am (although there are some exceptions to this rule)

5) There are restrictions on the types of work which they can and can’t do, which are:

  • Undertake work which they are not physically or mentally capable of doing;
  • Undertake work which brings them into contact with chemical agents, toxic material or radiation, or
  • Work which involves a health risk because of extreme cold, heat or vibration.

6) Above are the rules which apply to young workers/employees and are in addition to the normal employment legislation and basic employment rights such as National Minimum Wage and holiday entitlements.


If you are interested in encouraging even younger employees to work with you, then the rules relating to their employment are different again and are even more defined.


Only 13 – 16 years old in full time education may have the opportunity to undertake some work, under this age it is illegal to employ them and must be avoided.

The rules which must be complied with are:

1) As the employer, you must get a permit to work for the employee from your Local Education Authority. The permit must be signed by both you and the parent.

2) They must not work during the school day when they should be in education.

3) They must not undertake any work before 7am or after 7pm

4) Must work for no more than 2 hours a day or 12 hours per week in any week in which the employee is required to attend school.

5) No more than 2 hours on a Sunday

6) During school holidays, the young worker can work eight hours per day if over the age of 15. This is capped at a maximum working week of 35 hours, and only 5 hours per day if 15 or younger, capped at a maximum of 15 hours per week.

7) They must not work for more than four hours without a break of one hour.

8) Have a minimum two week uninterrupted holiday from school, when no work is undertaken

9) They must only undertake light duties and must not work in factories, building sites, transport, mines or any environment which is a high risk.


As an employer, you need to know that if the young worker is under the school leaving age there is:

  • no entitlement to national minimum wage
  • to be paid holiday days


If you would like more guidance on employing young workers or to know more about any employment rights for any of your employees or workers, please give us a call on 0845 6100 651.

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