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What You Should Know

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The Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996 sets out controls governing the employment of children and young persons.

The Act defines a child 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".

In general, the Act prohibits the employment of children under 16 years. Employers may, however, take on 14 and 15 year olds, on light work -

  • during the school holidays, provided there is a minimum three week break from work during the summer,
  • part-time during the school term (over 15 years old only, and for a maximum of 8 hours in the week),
  • as part of an approved work experience or education programme where the work is not harmful to their safety, health or development.

Children (i.e. under 16 years of age) can also be employed in cultural, artistic, sports or advertising work which does not interfere with their attendance at school, vocational guidance or training programmes or capacity to benefit from the instruction received.

Employers are required by legislation to display an Abstract of the Act - a poster version of the summary information for this purpose may be viewed and downloaded on this link - Information Poster - Employing Persons Under 18 years - (English) - (Gaeilge)

Further information is available by clicking on the individual tabs above.

In order to employ a child in cultural, artistic, sports or advertising work permission must be obtained by the potential employer by way of a licence issued on behalf of the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. The type of activities for which licence applications are made would typically be television commercials or films that require the presence of a child. The licence sets out the conditions under which the child(ren) may be employed, such as general conditions about parental consent, supervision and education arrangements, and the maximum working times and minimum breaks appropriate to each group.

The employer should apply in writing for a licence at least 21 days before the employment commences.

The Application Form may be downloaded here - Employment of Children - Licence Application Form

A Form to be completed by the Principal of the School where the child is a student, agreeing to his/her absence from school is also required, and may be downloaded here - School Principal Agreement to Absence of Child

Further information on obtaining a licence for film/TV and theatre can be accessed by clicking on the following links:

Note on Employing a Child by Licence (Film/TV)

Note on Employing a Child by Licence (Theatre)

Application forms for a licence and further details may also be obtained from:

Licensing Section
Workplace Relations Commission
O'Brien Road
R93 E920

For industries to which the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000 applies, the rate for an employee who is under eighteen years of age is 70% of the Adult National Minimum Wage. The current rate of pay for a person under 18, therefore, is €6.86 per hour.

In addition to the specific records mentioned on the 'Mandatory Records' tab, employers of persons under 18 years of age must display a Poster which outlines the rights of the young person, in an area where it can be easily accessed and read by all staff. A copy of the poster may be obtained from 

Information and Customer Services,
Workplace Relations Commission, 
O’Brien Road,
R93 E920

In addition to the normal Statutory Records that employers are required to keep, the following records must be kept for any children and young persons employed by them -

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • time work begins each day
  • time work finishes each day
  • rate of wages or salary paid per day, week, month or year, as appropriate
  • total amount of wages or salary paid to each person

In addition, before employing someone under 16 years of age, an employer must see a copy of the child's birth certificate and obtain the written permission of a parent or guardian to employ the child.

Under the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994, an employer must provide all workers under the age of 18 years with a copy of the official summary of the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, together with the other details of their terms of employment within one month of taking up a job.

Also, employers who employ persons under 18 years of age must display the official summary (abstract) of the Act at the workplace where it can be easily read. A copy of the abstract in poster form is available here - Information Poster - Employing Persons Under 18.pdf

The following limits apply to the hours that can be worked by young persons under 18 years of age –

Maximum Weekly Working Hours
  14 Years Old 15 Years Old
Term-time Nil 8 hours
Holiday Work 35 hours 35 hours
Work Experience 40 hours 40 hours


Permitted Working Hours
  Under 16s 16 & 17 years old
Early Morning After 8.00 a.m. After 6.00 a.m.
Night Work - with school the next morning Up to 8.00 p.m. Up to 10.00 p.m.
Night Work - with no school next morning (e.g. holidays, weekends) Up to 8.00 p.m. Up to 11.00 p.m **. (and not before 7.00 a.m. next morning)
** Note – work beyond 10.00 pm requires Ministerial approval by regulation. Specific regulations have been made for Licensed Premises – contact Workplace Relations Customer Service (1890 80 80 90) for further details. See also the 'Code of Practice Concerning the Employment of Young Persons in Licensed Premises'


Rest Breaks
  Under 16s 16 & 17 Year Olds
30 minutes break after working 4 hours 4½ hours
Every 24 hours 14 hours off 12 hours off
Every 7 days 2 days off 2 days off



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Registered Address: Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, O'Brien Road, Carlow, R93 E920