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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.

You may also wish to click on the following link in our Codes of Practice section relating to the Code of Practice Concerning the Employment of Young Persons in Licensed Premises