Employment of Children and Young Persons in Ireland
If you need to employ children or young persons in Ireland, then you should become familiar with the requirements as set down in the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996 (The Act)
What are the definitions of a child and a young person ?
A child is defined in the Act as "a person who is under 16 years of age or the school-leaving age, whichever is the higher"; and defines a young person as "a person who has reached 16 years of age or the school-leaving age (whichever is higher) but is less than 18 years of age".
The employment of children under 16 years of age is prohibited under the act, subject to a number of exceptions. You may employ 14 and 15 year olds on light work during the school holidays. There must be a minimum of three weeks break from work during the summer holidays. Part time light work which does not exceed 8 hours a week is allowed for persons over 15 years of age. If the light work is part of a work experience or education programme, which has been approved, it will be allowed, provided it does not prove detrimental to the health, safety or development of the 14 or 15 year old.
What about children employed in advertising and films?
Provided it does not interfere with their attendance at school or similar educational activity the employment of children is allowed.
Are there any additional records to keep for children or young people in employment?
Yes. You must keep the following information;
Date of birth
Daily Start time
Daily End time
Rate of wages or salary paid per day, week, month or year as appropriate
Total amount of wages/salary paid to each child or young person
You must also put up in an area frequented by staff, a poster issued by the National Employment Rights Authority ( now the Workplace Relations Commission), outlining the rights of a child or young person. See below to download a copy.
What about employing young persons in licensed premises?
The Department of Labour, Trade and Consumer Affairs , in consultation with Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Irish Hotels Federation, Licensed Vintners Association, Mandate, National Parents Council post primary, Restaurants Association of Ireland, and the Vintners Federation of Ireland produced a useful Code of Practice Concerning the Employment of Young Persons in Licensed Premises. It sets out guidelines which all the members of the licensed trade should adhere to when employing young persons in Ireland. See below to download a copy.
What else should an employer do?
You must see a copy of the child/young person's birth certificate and obtain the written permission from a parent or guardian.
You will require licence from the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation for the employment of children in cultural, artistic, sports or advertising work.
Prepare for an inspection
The Workplace Relations Commission Inspection and Enforcement Services is tasked with monitoring compliance with current employment legislation. The 2017 report reveals that they completed 4,747 inspections, affecting 99,000 employees. The significant statistic is that 58% of inspections were unannounced. While in the case of minor breaches the inspector may give you the opportunity to remedy matters, it is important to note that in the case of any breach of the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996 the employer will be referred for prosecution as soon as the inspection is concluded.
Do not wait for the inspection. Carry out a review of your records and procedures now. Avoid prosecution , a large fine and negative publicity. If you need help, just contact us.
Guide to Protection of Young Persons Act, Download here
Employment of Children in the Workplace Licence Application Form, Download here
School Principal Agreement to Absence Form, Download here
Irish Language version of the Under 18 poster Download here
English Language version of the Under 18 poster Download here
Code of Practice Concerning the Employment of Young Persons in Licensed Premises Download here
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