The law places restrictions on employing children and young workers under the age of 18, to ensure their health, safety and development are not adversely affected by undertaking work.
- It is generally unlawful to employ a child under the age of 14 years.
- Children are considered to be 'employed' if they assist in an occupation carried on for profit, even if they receive no payment for the work.
- Children over 14 years of age but below school leaving age can do only 'light work' and the employer may need a local authority permit to employ them. They will be prohibited from working in an industrial setting, on boats, in a gambling establishment (if under 16 years of age), and will not be able to sell alcohol if they are under 18 (except where it is supplied for consumption with a meal).
- Young workers over the age of 16 are entitled to receive the national minimum wage even if they are still attending school.
- Children over school leaving age but under 18 years cannot work more than eight hours a day, or more than 40 hours a week, or do night work (there are exceptions for some sectors, such as hospitals and agriculture).
- Since 2015, young people have been required to continue in education or training until the end of the school year in which they turn 18.