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Minimum age for employment

How old does a person need to be before they can be employed?

There is no general minimum age for employment, but there are some important rules about the employment of young people. These rules apply to the following aspects of employment:

Times a young person can work

Types of work a young person can perform

Operating Machinery

Under the Human Rights Act 1993 people aged less than 16 years are protected from discrimination in employment on other grounds (such as disability or race) but may be treated differently because of their age.

See also:

Being a Young Employee

Employing children and young people

Safety information for young workers and employers of young workers

Date Modified: Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Disclaimer: The content on this website covers common problems. It will not answer every question and should not be used as a substitute for legislation or legal advice.State sector employers and employees may be affected by some differences in the laws that apply to them (e.g. State Sector Act 1988).The Department of Labour takes no responsibility for the results of any actions taken on the basis of information on this website, nor for any errors or omissions.

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