When establishing whether a child at a certain age is to be employed in any form of job it is imperative first to distinguish is what is meant by the term child.
The following definitions must be taken into account when wishing to employ children or young workers as part of your business:
A child is any person who is not over compulsory school age.
Compulsory school age starts at five and ends at sixteen – a person will cease to be deemed a child when over compulsory school age.
A young worker is defined as anyone between the ages of fifteen and eighteen and who is over compulsory school age.
When a child reaches the age of 14 they are permitted to be employed in any form of work. At no younger than 14 can a child be employed in work.
It is not illegal for children below the age of 14, who are at least 13-years-old to be employed in certain roles. This enables children of that age to earn small amount as pocket money by doing such jobs as delivering newspapers.
Accordingly, children who have reached the age of 13 can be employed in the following:
Children over the age of 14 are able to undertake light work only.
Light work is taken to mean work which on account of the inherent nature of the tasks which it involves at the particular conditions under which the task is performed is not likely to be harmful to the health, safety or development of children and is not such as harmful to their attendance at school or their participation in work experience in accordance with section 560 of the Education Act, or their capacity to benefit from instruction received.
There are certain forms of employment whereby, children of any age are prohibited to work. They are as follows:
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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