Restrictions and benefits of teenage jobs
Despite children being able to work from the age of 13, the number of teens in Saturday jobs almost halved between 2000 and 2020. With recruiters often placing significant emphasis on experience, those teenagers that do take on conventional paid work are developing key life-skills as well as necessary funds for their future. So, what hours are teenagers allowed to work and what benefits can this bring?
Children are legally allowed to work in the UK from the age of 13, though there are many restrictions on hours and minimum wage will not come into effect until children reach their 16th birthday.
Children can only work after 7am and before 7pm, and must have an employment permit issued by the education department of the local council, if this is required by local bylaws.
13 and 14-year-olds
In term time, children aged 13 and 14 can work for a maximum of 12 hours a week. This includes a maximum of two hours on school days and on Sundays, and up to five hours on Saturdays.
During school holidays, 13 and 14-year-olds are only allowed to work a maximum of 25 hours a week (including a maximum of five hours on week days and Saturdays, and a maximum of two hours on Sundays).
15 and 16-year-olds
During term time, 15 and 16-year-olds in the UK are also only allowed to work for up to 12 hours a week. This includes a maximum of two hours on school days and on Sundays, but up to eight hours on Saturdays.
In school holidays, teenagers of this age can work to a maximum of 35 hours per week (including up to eight hours on week days and Saturdays, and up to two hours on Sundays).
Once a teenager has reached their minimum school leaving age, they can then work up to a maximum of 40 hours a week.
Working can provide children with:
- Increased independence and a sense of responsibility
- A positive attitude to team work
- Key work-skills such as customer service, time-keeping and prioritising
- Money management skills
- Preparation for full-time employment
- Money to spend on their favourite past-times
It can be difficult for teenagers to juggle school work and extracurricular activities as well as a job. It is important that teenagers still get adequate sleep and have the time and environment to concentrate on their school work. When the correct balance is found, a combination of excellent school results and work-place skills can contribute greatly to a child realising their potential in the future.