Think hard before employing under-age staff
Published:  08 January, 2010

Q My neighbour’s daughter is a 17-year-old student and would like to work part-time in my shop. Obviously she would not be allowed to make alcohol sales without me being present to authorise them, but she would be a useful addition?to the team and it would help her?earn some useful money. How problematic will her employment?be legally??A Because she is no longer of school age, your neighbour’s daughter is given quite a lot more freedom than someone aged 16. However, she is also given more protection under the law than an 18 year old.

Anyone still 16 after the last Friday in June (the date the law assumes compulsory schooling is over) is allowed to work as late as 10pm, for up to eight hours a day, for up to 40 hours a week. She is entitled to a minimum wage of £3.57 an hour, and you must provide a 30-minute break every four and a half hours. She is also entitled to paid leave?.

Be very careful about taking on your neighbour’s daughter as a favour. This really needs to be a hard-headed business decision. You’ve got a licence to protect and, however sensible she is, you’re going to have to double check virtually every transaction she makes.

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