Employing Young People for Summer Work

Summer holidays are just around the corner and many employers are considering hiring students during this time. Although it’s nice to see employers affording the opportunity to the future leaders of this country there are also many rules and regulations employers need to be aware of if they are considering hiring students.

The Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act is designed to protect young workers under the age of 18. Below are several areas employers need to be aware of. However for full details and legalities, please contact the Employment Right Information Unit, Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment.

Who is covered by the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act?

The law is designed to protect the health of young workers, generally under the age of 18, to ensure that work during the school years does not put a young person’s education at risk and sets minimum age limits for employment, rest intervals, and maximum working hours. The act also prohibits the employment of under 18s on late night work.

What is the Age Limits on Hiring?

For a regular job, then general minimum age is 16. Employers can take on 14 and 15 year olds on light work:

  • Part-time during the school term (over 15 years only)
  • As part of an approved work experience or educational programme
  • During the school holidays, provided there is a minimum three week break from work in the summer

Any child under 16 years of age may be employed in film, theatre, sports or advertising under licence.

What is the Maximum Hours of Work per Week?

Under 18’s may not be employed for more than 40 hours a week or 8 hours a day, except in a genuine emergency. The maximum weekly working hours for 14 and 15 year olds are:

Age 14 Age 15
Team Time Nil Nil
Holiday Work 35 hours 35 hours
Work Experience 40 Hours 40 hours

Early Morning and Night Work

The hours permitted are: Age Under 16s Age 16s & 17s
Early Morning After 8pm After 6am
Night Work 

  • With School Next Morning
Up to 8pm Up to 10pm
  • No school next morning eg. holidays, weekends
Up to 8pm up to 11pm(and not before 7am next morning)

How many breaks am I required to provide?

Age Under 16s Age 16s and 17s
30 Min breaks after working 4 hours 4.5 hours
Every 24 hours 14 hours off 12 hours off
Every 7 days 2 days off 2 days off


The full provisions of the Act do not apply to:

  • Employment of close relatives
  • Employment in fishing, shipping, or the Defence Forces

Duties of Employers

Employers must:

  • See a copy of the birth certificate and, before employing someone under 16, must get the written permission of the parent or guardian.
  • Keep a register containing the following particulars of each person under 18 employed:
  • Full name
  • Date of Birth
  • Time work begins each day
  • Time work finishes each day
  • Rate of wages or salary paid per day, week, month or year, as appropriate
  • Total amount of wages or salary paid to each person


Complaints about breaches of the Act may be made in confidence to the Employment Rights Section, National Employment Rights Authority, Phone (059) 9178990. The Authority’s Inspectors have powers to go into places of work, question employers and employees and examine records. Parents may refer certain breaches of the Act to a Rights Commissioner.


Offenders could face fines of up to €1,905 and an extra €320 a day for a continuing offence.