Employing Young Workers during the Summer Hols
Employing young workers during the summer holidays can help your client meet higher seasonal demands whilst providing the worker with essential work experience. There are, however, several key issues your client should consider beforehand.
Your client should be aware of the additional rights that are afforded to young workers to keep them safe at work. Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, those under the age of 18 can only work up to eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. They are also entitled to a 30-minute break if their shift lasts more than 4.5 hours and at least two consecutive days off per week. Prior to hiring, your client should consider if their offer of employment meets these additional restrictions.
As of 1st April 2018 the national minimum wage for workers over the compulsory school age, but not yet 18, increased to £4.20 per hour. Your client will need to ensure they are paying, on average, at least the minimum wage for hours worked by the younger worker. They should also pay special attention to those workers who are approaching the age of 18 because, once they reach 18, they will become automatically entitled to receive an increased minimum rate of £5.90 per hour. Your client is advised to work with their payroll department to ensure young workers are being paid the correct rate at all times.
What young workers will offer your client in affordability, they may lack in general workplace knowhow especially where this is their first role. It is important that young workers are put through the standard company induction and workplace training. Your client may also consider further enhancing the induction process with sections aimed specifically at younger workers to run them through the do’s and don’ts of the workplace that others may take for granted. Appointing an experience employee to act as a workplace buddy during their initial stages of employment will offer young workers additional support and help them feel more comfortable from the outset.
Whilst it is perfectly reasonable to require young workers to help out with various different tasks during their employment, your client should always be conscious of the need to avoid claims of discrimination based on their age. Therefore, younger workers should not be treated less favourably or harassed because they are of a certain age or are younger than other employees. Additionally, your client is advised to carry out a risk assessment to determine any alternations that need to be made to the working environment and highlight any tasks which may be too dangerous for young workers.