The Grim Harvest
Factsheet - Young Workers
Employing Young Workers in the Holidays
More young people are working and visiting workplaces during the school holidays. It’s important to remember that they may not know all they need to know to keep safe and healthy at work. Here’s a summary of minimum rights.
Health and Safety in Employment
- The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 applies to young people just like older workers.
- It’s the employer’s duty to provide a safe workplace, with information about hazards, proper training, supervision & equipment, and employees must also do their best to keep themselves safe.
- Employees have the right to participate in improving health and safety.
- Employees have the right not to perform work likely to cause serious harm.
Age Restrictions on Dangerous Work
- The Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995 put age restrictions on dangerous work.
- Under 15 employees can’t work in certain places, operate machinery, drive a vehicle, lift heavy loads or do any work likely to harm them.
- Under 16 employees can’t be employed between 10pm and 6am.
- Under 15 young people can’t even be present (bystanders) in some workplaces without direct adult supervision at all times.
Minimum Employment Rights
- There are other laws such as the Employment Relations Act 2000, Minimum Wage Act 1983, and Holidays Act 2003 that also apply to young people.
- Employees must have a written employment agreement.
- Employer and employee should treat each other with respect and act honestly and openly – this is called acting in “good faith”.
- Employees have the right to join a union.
- There are legal minimum wages for employees 16 and over.
- There are legal minimum annual and public holidays and sick leave entitlements.
Ways to protect young employees
- Have good, clear safety practices that workers know about and follow.
- Provide appropriate information, training, supervision and equipment.
- Assign appropriate tasks - know the hazards in the workplace.
- Take all harms seriously, even if they seem minor.
- Apply the age restrictions for young workers and bystanders.