Employing children and young persons
Employing children and young persons

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Employing children and young persons
  • Contractual capacity of minors
  • Employment of children
  • Statutory rights of children
  • Employment of young people
  • Contract of employment
  • Health and safety obligations
  • Apprentices

When considering the possibility of employing children and young people, employers should be aware of:

  1. issues relating to the contractual capacity of minors (see Contractual capacity of minors, below)

  2. statutory rules relating to the employment of children (see Employment of children, below)

  3. the right to time off for study and training

Contractual capacity of minors

An employment contract (or other contract regarding paid work) will be enforceable against a minor (ie a person under 18 year old), provided the contract as a whole is for his benefit. If it is not, it will be voidable by the minor. Generally speaking a normal employment contract will be enforceable in the normal way unless it contains unusual, complex or onerous terms or exclusions of employer’s liability which take it beyond what is for the minor’s benefit.

Similarly, although there are certain circumstances in which a contract entered in to by a minor can be repudiated by him when he reaches 18, this should not apply to a normal employment contract which is for the minor's benefit.

The Minors’ Contracts Act 1987 permit the ratification of a contract made by a minor, after the minor has reached 18.

Employment of children

The principal legislation regulating the employment of children is the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (as amended), which incorporates the requirements of