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20 February 2015
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Get work in NI: Your rights

Getting a part-time job is a great way of earning money and gaining valuable work experience. But you’ve got to make sure that you’re not working so hard that your school work suffers. It’s been proven that if you work over five hours a week that your academic performance will suffer. So it’s important to know your rights at work - employment laws are there to protect you and to ensure your education is not compromised by work.

When can I work?

If you’re under sixteen, you’re never allowed to work before 7am or after 7pm.

What’s the maximum number of hours I can work in a week?

If you’re aged thirteen to sixteen, you can work a maximum twelve hours a week during term time, and a maximum two hours a day on any school day.

Do things change during the school holidays or weekends?

During school holidays and at weekends the rules change. If you’re under fourteen, you can work a maximum twenty-five hours per week and five hours a day. If you’re aged fifteen or sixteen, you can work a maximum 35 hours per week and eight hours per day.

Am I entitled to a break?

You must have a break of one hour for every four hours worked.

Can I do factory work?

Unless you are aged sixteen, it’s illegal for you to work in a factory.

What pay can I expect?

Unfortunately, if you’re under sixteen there is no minimum wage, but if you’re aged sixteen to twenty-one, you must be paid a minimum £3.50 per hour.

Do I need a work permit?

Yes. You must get a council permit to allow you to work legally. If you do not have a permit then you are not covered by any form of insurance and your employer has no liability at all in the event of a workplace accident.

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