Acas launches new advice for employers on employing young workers

young-man-845532_1280Acas launched new free guidance on Wednesday 12 August, UN International Youth Day, to make businesses aware of the special rules and protections that apply when employing young workers (i.e. workers under 18).

Latest research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has shown a growing demand from businesses who indicated that they plan to take on more young people to fill skills gaps, and a third of businesses specifically want to hire apprentices.

Stewart Gee, Acas Head of Information and Guidance, said:
“Many young people in their first jobs will not be aware of their workplace rights and they may feel like they are being exploited at work if they are treated very differently to older work colleagues.

Our own research reveals that workers under 18 are particularly vulnerable as they are within the age group that are most likely to face problems at work.

Our new guidance will help employers get to grips with the rules around employing younger workers and the special protections that apply to them.”

Acas’ new free online guide outlines the additional special protections that are set out in the Working Time Regulations to protect apprentices and workers under the age of 18. The aim of the guide is to help businesses avoid a range of common pitfalls such as not paying young workers enough and giving them working hours that are too long.

The main points that employers should be aware of when employing younger workers include:
• Giving them the correct amount of time off each week: younger workers are entitled to two days off per week, which is double the amount of time off for older workers (i.e. workers over 18 years of age) in the Working Time Regulations
• Paying them properly: most workers over school leaving age (16-17) will be entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage.
• Ensuring they work the right hours: younger workers will not normally work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.
• Following the rules on work-based training: as young people must stay in education or training, at least on a part-time basis, until they are 18 years old; it is important to be aware that work-based training, such as an apprenticeship, needs to be for more than 20 hours a week.
• Night work: under 18’s are not usually allowed to work at night but exceptions can apply in some circumstances: for example, if they are employed in a hospital or similar places of work; or in areas such as advertising, sporting or cultural activities. Young workers may work between 10pm or 11pm to midnight and between 4am to 6/7am if they are employed in particular industries, or they may work when the work is necessary to maintain continuity of service or production or respond to demand for services or products.

If you need further help or guidance contact Helen Kay at HMK Legal on or .

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