Q460: How old does a child have to be to work?

The child must be at least 13 years old and then there are strict restrictions on the hours the child can work. These restrictions can be varied by local by-laws to a certain degree. Such by-laws would for instance vary the types of trades and occupations the child may undertake depending on the age or sex of the child. It is possible that the local authority will have a by-law, which states that children under 13 can do light agricultural and horticultural work for their parents or guardians. To see if any such by-laws exist in your area contact your local authority.

However, the child must not work:

  • Before 0700hrs and after 1900hrs on a school day;
  • During school hours;
  • For more than two hours on a school day;
  • For more than 12 hours during a school week (1 hour between 7am and 830am and 1 hour between end of school and 7pm or 2 hours between end of school and 7pm);
  • For more than 2 hours on a Sunday (between 7am and 11am);
  • For more than 5 hours a day if he is under 15 years old on any day that is not a school day and not a Sunday (Saturday and school holidays);
  • For more than 8 hours a day if he is over 15years old and over on any day that is not a school day and not a Sunday (Saturday and school holidays);
  • For more than 35 hours in a week if he is aged 15 and over; or
  • For not more than 25 hours in a week if he is under 15; and
  • He must have at least two consecutive weeks off in any year during which he does not work and is not at school.

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