Know Your Rights: Working Hours For Young People

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Kerry Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

Do I have special rights as a young worker? 

The number of hours you can work and the types of jobs you can do, depends on your age.

Young workers are people aged 14 to 18, who work for an employer. As young workers are generally in full-time education, they are protected by different employment laws than adults. This is to make sure their work does not put their health or education at risk.

The working hours for young people are regulated by the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996. The Act does not apply to children or young people who are employed by a close relative.

Continued below…


How many hours can I work?

Employers cannot employ children under 16 in regular full-time jobs. They can employ children aged 14 and 15 years on light work as follows:

• Children aged 14 or over can do light work during the school holidays where the hours do not exceed 7 in any day or 35 in any week.
• Children over 15 but under 16 can do light work up to 8 hours a week during school term time.
• Children under 16 must have at least 21 days off work during the summer holidays.
• Children aged 16 to 18 can work a maximum of 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.

What breaks am I entitled to?

Workers under 16 are entitled to 30 minutes rest break after every 4 hours of work and 14 consecutive hours off between shifts.

Workers over 16 are entitled to a 30 minutes rest break for every 4.5 hours of work and 12 consecutive hours of between shifts.

Both must have 2 days off a week.

Read more about Working hours for young people on, 

If you need further information about any of the issues raised here or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860. They will be happy to assist you and if necessary arrange an appointment for you.

Kerry HELPLINE 0818 07 7860

Monday to Friday from 10am -4pm. Alternatively you can email on or log on to

The National Phone Service is available on 0818 07 4000 Monday to Friday 9am – 8pm

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