What work can 15- and 16-year-olds do?

The employment of 15- and 16-year-old children who have not reached school leaving age is restricted by the Children and Young Persons Act (1933).

Essentially, the restrictions on hours and types of work are the same as those applying to 14-year-olds, i.e.:

  • not in prohibited industries;
  • only light work;
  • not before 7am or after 7pm;
  • not during school hours on any day the child is required to attend school; and
  • not for more than two hours on any school day, or 12 hours in any school week.

However, at 15 and 16, a child may work for up to eight hours on a weekday when he or she is not at school, or on a Saturday. They may also work for up to 35 hours in a non-school week.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.