Are young workers allowed to work at night?

There are special rules for young workers aged 16 and 17. Young workers may not ordinarily work at night between 10pm and 6am (or between 11pm and 7am if their contract of employment provides for work after 10pm). However, exceptions apply in particular circumstances in certain kinds of employment, as set out below.

Young workers may work throughout the night if they are employed in:

  • hospitals or similar establishments; or
  • cultural, artistic, sporting or advertising activities.

Young workers may work between 10 or 11pm and midnight, and between 4am and 6 or 7am, if they are employed in:

  • agriculture;
  • retail trading;
  • postal or newspaper deliveries;
  • a catering business;
  • a hotel, public house, restaurant, bar or similar establishment; or
  • a bakery.

The circumstances in which young workers may work at night are that the work they are required to do is necessary to either:


  • there is no adult available to perform the task;
  • the employer ensures that the training needs of the young worker are not adversely affected; and
  • the young worker is allowed an equivalent period of compensatory rest.

Young workers must be adequately supervised where it is necessary for their protection.

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.

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