Specific times children of a certain age can be employed at

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.

What definitions will I need to be aware of when considering employing children to work in my business?

The following definitions must be taken into account when wishing to employ children or young workers as part of your business:

  • Child
  • Compulsory school age
  • Young worker


A child is any person who is not over compulsory school age.

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.

Young Worker

A young worker is defined as anyone between the ages of fifteen and eighteen and who is over compulsory school age.

What are the timing requirements that individuals of certain ages can be employed for?

The following laws apply to the children of specific ages working for specific times in England and Wales:

  • It is illegal for any child to be employed during school hours
  • It is illegal for any child under the age of 13 to be employed in any occupation – this does not apply to public performances
  • Children must have at least two weeks in a year, during School closures, during which they shall not work
  • It is illegal for children to work more than two hours on a Sunday
  • It is illegal for children to commence work before 7 am
  • It is illegal for children to work after 7 pm

At what times during the week may children be permitted to work?

During the week, on a school day, children can only work according to the following requirements:

  •       Children can only work for a maximum amount of two hours on a school day
  •       Children can only work for a maximum of twelve hours in any school week
  •       Children can only work for a maximum period of one hour a day prior to the start of school

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For more information on:

  • Does the age of the child have any bearing on how many hours can be worked at weekends and during school holidays?
  • Children aged between 13 and 14
  • Children aged between 15 and 16
  • Are there any requirements which apply to all children of all ages?
  • Are there any regulations in place which affect the working time of young workers over the compulsory school age?