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UK Young Workers: What are the rules and regulations?

In the UK, you need to be 16 years old (legal school-leaving age) to work part-time, and 18 years of age to work full time. Depending on where you work, there are many different methods of rules and regulations that your employer may choose to execute.

Despite there being different methods of executing employment terms and conditions, they must all be legal.

Here, we will be giving you a breakdown of the legalities of working as a young person in the UK, and additionally, your employment benefits when working as a young person through MLT Recruitment!

Minimum Age to Work

Now firstly, it should be noted that your minimum legal school leaving age is different depending on whether you reside in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales.

But regardless of where you reside, you have to be at least 16 years of age to be able to work legally. And in the UK, you must be in part-time education or training until you are 18 years of age to be able to work full-time, 40 hours a week.

So as a young worker between 16-17 years of age, it is highly likely that you will only be allowed to work anywhere between 16-20 hours per week, alongside any extra studies you will be doing, whether that be A Levels, an apprenticeship or so on.


As a young worker (typically aged 16-17) your employer must pay you through PAYE and are entitled to at least £5.28 per hour National Minimum Wage.

If you are aged 16-17 and are employed with our casual hospitality roles through MLT Recruitment, you will be paid £10.42 per hour. This is because we believe that if two people are doing the same job role, their responsibilities should be equally reflected in their wage, not their difference in age!

If you are 16-17 and working in the UK, you will be paid under PAYE by law, and once you're 18 years of age, adult employment rights and rules then apply.

Employment Rules

As a young worker in the world of employment, there are rules you will need to be aware of abiding by.

Employee Rules

  • Loyalty

  • Honesty

  • Timekeeping and deadlines

  • Health and safety

  • Professionalism

By sticking to these rules in your employment, you can stroll into your first job with your head held high!

Now you know the basic rights and regulations of being young and employed (likely for the first time) why not check out how you can make a great cover letter?

Check our job vacancies page now for updated roles.


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