Children and Young Workers

What you must do - Law 5

Pay rates

  • The applicable minimum wage rate depends on the age of the worker.
  • For agricultural work:
    • Minors (of compulsory school age) must be paid a minimum of £2.87 per hour.
    • Anyone over school leaving age must be paid a minimum of £5.74 per hour in England and Wales, and £5.73 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • For non-agricultural work:
    • Workers who are 16 or 17 must be paid at least £3.53 per hour.
    • Wages increase to a minimum of £4.77 per hour when a worker turns 18.
    • The adult minimum wage of £5.73 is applicable to all workers aged 22 or over.
  • These rates apply whether a worker is paid by the piece or by the hour.
  • There is no minimum wage protection for workers who are under the age of 16.
  • Workers who are members of your family and live in the same home as you are not covered by minimum wage requirements.
  • Workers who are undertaking work experience are not covered by minimum wage requirements.

Health checks

Young Workers

  • Young workers (15-18) should undergo annual health and ‘capability’ assessments

Issuing Work Permits

Minors

  • A worker who is under the school leaving age must have a permit to work from your local authority in order to be employed.
  • A permit must be issued within 1 week of the employment starting.
  • The permit must be signed both by the employer and the child’s parent or guardian, and can be inspected at any time by an authorised official or police officer.
  • The local authority will issue a permit only if the terms and conditions of employment comply with both national and local laws, and do not adversely affect the health and well being of the child.
  • A medical check may have to take place to ensure the capability of the child to do the work proposed.
  • The authority may revoke the permit at any time if it feels that the employment is adversely affecting the health or well being of the child; or it is interfering with their education.
  • If the details of the work or the term and conditions of employment change, the employer must apply for an amendment to the permit.
  • A child is not insured without a permit.

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