Citizens Information – ‘Rights of young workers’

I just turned 15 and have finished school for the summer, can I get a summer job?

You can get a summer job, but if you are a young worker and in full-time education, you are protected by different employment laws than adults. The laws do not apply if you are employed by a close relative.
If you are aged between 14 and 18 and work for an employer, you are a young worker. The law sets out different rules for young workers depending on their age:
Workers aged 14 and 15 are classed as ‘children’
Workers aged 16 and 17 are classed as ‘young persons’

What do I need to give to the employer so I can work?

You must show the employer a copy of your birth certificate or provide other proof of your age.
Because you are under 16, you must also get written permission from your parent or guardian.

How many hours can I work?

The number of hours you can work and the types of jobs you can do, depends on your age.
The working hours for young people are regulated by the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996.
Because you are under 16, you can’t work a regular full-time job.
Employers can employ children aged 14 and 15 years on light work as follows:
Children aged 14 or over can work during the school holidays, up to 7 hours in any day or 35 in any week.
Children over 15 but under 16 can work up to 8 hours a week during school term time.
Children under 16 can work up to 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week if they are on an approved work experience or educational programme.

Children under 16 must have at least 21 days off work during summer holidays.

What breaks am I entitled to?

Because you are under 16, you are entitled to 30 minutes rest break after every 4 hours of work, and 14 consecutive hours off between shifts.
You must have 2 days off a week.

Read more about working hours for young people on or call us on 0818 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm).

Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0818 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon. Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0818 07 4000.

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