Pubs hotels and employment of waitresses under16

Posted: Thursday, 11 March 2010 @ 10:38

The recent news that a West Yorkshire pub has been forced to sack some young waitresses due to local by-laws prompts a look at the law on employment of children in the trade.

In the case of the Yorkshire pub the Kirklees Council by-laws state that children under school leaving age cannot work after 7pm, cannot work for more than 2 hours on a school day or a Sunday, cannot work for more than 12 hours in a week during a school term, and cannot work in a commercial kitchen.

So what is the law for England and Wales?

Children under 14 are not allowed to work at all except in very limited circumstances which will not apply to the licensed trade.

For children aged 14 and under school leaving age (ends on the last Friday of June in the school year in which they are 16) the local authority by-laws apply, and these may vary between authorities. You need to check with your local authority. In any event a permit will be required from your local authority which will have to be signed by the employer and a parent.

Otherwise the legal requirement is that children (14 until the last Friday of June in the year they are 16) must not work:-

  1. before 7am and after 7pm
  2. during school hours on a school day
  3. for more than 2 hours on a Sunday
  4. for more than 2 hours on a school day
  5. for more than 12 hours in a school week
  6. for more than 8 hours ( 5 hours for 14 year olds) on a non school day
  7. for more than 35 hours (25 for 14 year olds) in non school weeks
  8. for more than 4 hours without a break of one hour

And the children must have at least 2 uninterrupted weeks of holiday from school in any calendar year.

So you will see that it will be very difficult to employ under 16s as waitresses except on a Saturday, for a few hours on perhaps a Sunday lunchtime, or a school holiday lunchtime.

And remember that 16 and 17 year olds must not work for more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week, and must have a break of 30 minutes every 4.5 hours, a rest period of 12 hours, and 2 days off work each week.

Nigel Musgrove

Licensing Law Specialist

For free advice on this topic please call us on 0845 003 5639.

This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.


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