Part-time work whilst still at school

If you are still of compulsory school age, you may be permitted to have a part-time job. But there are some regulations about the sort of work you can do and when you can work.

These regulations are to protect your well-being and to help ensure that having a job doesn’t affect your education. This leaflet sets out the main facts you need to know before you start work.

You are considered to be employed whether or not you are paid for the work you do.

You may only do part-time work when you are 13 years old, not before.

Once you are 13, you may do jobs from the following list of light work:

  • delivering newspapers
  • work in a shop
  • work in a hairdressers
  • office work
  • wash cars (but not in a garage)
  • serve or wash up in a café or restaurant
  • work in a riding stables
  • domestic work in hotels.

From age 14 you may do work from the list and other light work, provided that it is not on the list of prohibited employment at the back of this leaflet.

At all ages you should have a one-hour break if you work for more than four hours in one day. Your employer should also ensure that you have a two-week break during school holidays each year.

You need to apply for a Certificate of Employment by completing an application form which you can get from your school or the Team of Inclusion Officers at the Council. The form has sections which need to be completed by your school, your parent/guardian and your employer.

Your employer could be prosecuted for employing you without a Certificate of Employment. Also, if you have an accident whilst at work, your employer’s insurance would be invalid if you did not have a Certificate of Employment. We also need to ensure that what you are doing is safe and that it is not affecting your education or your attendance at school.

Your Certificate of Employment lasts as long as your job does. If you change jobs or change your hours of employment, you need to let us know. If you stop working, you also need to tell us.

You can have your certificate taken of you if the Council believed that:

  1. You were being unlawfully employed
  2. Your health, welfare, school attendance, or ability to take advantage of your education is suffering, or is likely to suffer, as a result of your employment.

If you are doing work experience arranged by your school you do not need a Certificate of Employment.

Your employer has a responsibility to take care of your health, safety and welfare while you are at work. You can ensure your safety by:

  • Checking that you are properly trained and know what you are doing - if you are not sure then don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Speak to your employer, parents, or to the Council’s Inclusion Officers if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable or anxious by what they say or do at work.

Hours of work

13 and 14-year-olds may work the following hours:

Not more than two hours in one day during the following times:

  • School days: Morning - 7am to start of school or evening close of school to 7pm
  • Saturdays: Up to five hours between 7am and 7pm
  • Sundays: Up to two hours between 7am and 7pm
  • Term-time (including weekends): Up to a maximum of 12 hours a week
  • School holidays (Including weekends): Up to a maximum of 25 hours a week, five hours a day, between 7am and 7pm on any day except Sunday. On Sundays, two hours between 7am and 7pm

15 and 16 year-olds may work the following hours:

Not more than two hours in one day during the following times:

  • School days: Morning - 7am to start of school or evening close of school to 7pm
  • Saturdays: Up to eight hours between 7am and 7pm
  • Sundays: Up to two hours between 7am and 7pm
  • Term-time (including weekends): Up to a maximum of 12 hours a week
  • School holidays (Including weekends): Up to a maximum of 35 hours a week, eight hours a day, between 7am and 7pm on any day except Sunday. On Sundays, two hours between 7am and 7pm.

Prohibited employment

While you are still at school and of compulsory school age, you can not:

  • work on a milk round
  • work in a cinema, theatre, dance hall, disco or night club
  • sell or deliver alcohol
  • work in a petrol station
  • work in a commercial kitchen
  • undertake food preparation
  • collect or sort refuse
  • window clean or do any job which involves you being more than three metres off the ground
  • do a job which might bring you into contact with harmful chemicals
  • call at people’s houses to collect money
  • agricultural and horticultural work, unless age 14 years and if only employed on occasional basis by your parents/carers
  • be exposed to adult material which is considered unsuitable for children
  • work in telephone sales
  • work in a slaughterhouse, abattoir or butcher’s shop
  • work in a fairground or amusement arcade
  • work in “personal care” in a residential or nursing home
  • work in a pub

Compulsory school age

A young person is of compulsory school age until the date they are legally allowed to leave school. This is not their 16th birthday, or when they receive their national insurance number. The Law has fixed the school leaving date as the last Friday in June for all young people in their final year (normally Year 11).