- If you’re not old enough to leave school, you can get a part time job to do alongside your education
- Your rights as a child have priority, so there are some quite strict rules about what you can and can’t do and how much you can work
- If you do have a part time job and you are treated badly, there are things you can do
If you’re under 16, you shouldn’t have to work in Wales. You should be free to grow up, to learn about the world, to make friends and play. Your parents are responsible for bringing you up and they should provide everything you need to grow up healthily. As you get older, you may want to get a job. Having a part time job can give you more independence as you earn your own money. You can learn lots of valuable skills ready for when you leave school, and it can be lots of fun. The rules around working when you’re a child are designed to protect you, and to make sure that any work you do doesn’t stop you getting an education, or harm your development.
Once you can leave school – which is on the last Friday in June in the academic year of your 16th birthday – the rules change slightly. If you are over school leaving age, you can find out more about the kind of work you can do here.
The general rule is that you can get a part time job once you are 13. You can work if you are younger than 13, but only in what’s called a ‘performance role’ – so if you are modelling or acting or something like that.
You aren’t allowed to do any kind of work that will be harmful to your health, your development or your well-being. If you’re under school leaving age, you can only do a part time job, involving ‘light work’. This would include a paper round, helping out in a shop or hairdresser, dishwashing in a café and similar types of work.
You can’t work in a factory or on an industrial site or a mine. You can’t work in the transport industry or on a merchant ship. You won’t be allowed to do most jobs in pubs or betting shops, and your Local Authority may have other restrictions on where you can work and the kind of work you can do.
There are limits on the number of hours you can work, depending on whether the work is during the school term or the holidays, and depending on the days you are working.
In term time, you can work a maximum of 12 hours a week. You can work up to 2 hours a day Monday – Friday and on a Sunday. If you are 13 or 14 you can work 5 hours on a Saturday. 15 and 16 year olds can work 8 hours on a Saturday.
In the school holidays, 13-14 year olds can work a maximum of 25 hours a week. You can work 5 hours a day on weekdays and Saturdays and 2 hours on a Sunday. 15-16 years olds can work a maximum of 35 hours a week. You can work 8 hours a day on weekdays and Saturdays and 2 hours on Sundays.
As you are expected to be at school or being educated either at home or somewhere else such as at a Pupil Referral Unit:
- You can’t work during school hours.
- You can’t work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
- You can only work for a maximum of 1 hour before school, unless your Local Authority says otherwise.
If you’re under school leaving age, there are no rules about what you should be paid – so the person you are working for can decide what he or she wants to pay you and you can decide whether to work for that amount of money or not. Once you are school leaving age, rules are in place to make sure you are paid a minimum amount. Find out more about working once you are school leaving age here.
National Insurance is a payment made by people in work once they are 16 or older. It is paid to the Government and is used to pay for benefits that adults can receive. You don’t have to pay National Insurance if you are under 16.
If you work for more than 4 hours, you should have a break of at least 1 hour. You should also have at least a 2 week break from any work during the school holidays.