1 Children, Young Persons and Young Workers

1.1
Children, young persons and young workers are defined as follows:

  • A child is anyone who is not over the Minimum School Leaving Date.
  • A young person is anyone below 18 years of age.
  • A young worker is anyone below 18 years of age and above the minimum school leaving age.

1.2
The arrangements to protect the health and safety of all young people is governed by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (as amended) [MHSWR] and children are additionally protected by the Children (Protection at Work) Regulations 1998.

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2 What is the Minimum School Leaving Date?

2.1
In law, a ‘child’ is a person who is not over ‘compulsory school age’; that is to say, a person (generally under the age of 17) who has not lawfully left school. 

2.2
In England and Wales, a child who turns 16 during the course of a school year must remain at school until the last Friday in June next following his/her 16th birthday.  A child whose 16th birthday falls after that last Friday in June, but before the beginning of the next school year, may likewise leave school on that same last Friday in June.

2.3
In Scotland, a child whose 16th birthday occurs between 1 March and 30 September, inclusive, may lawfully leave school on 31 May of that same year.  A child who turns 16 between 1 October and the last day of February, inclusive, may do so at the beginning of the Christmas holidays in that same school year.

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3 Hours of Work

3.1
The hours that young workers and children can work is strictly regulated under the respective legislation and the hours that a child may work is significantly less than that of a young worker. 

3.2
Managers should seek advice from the Staff Development & HR Manager and/or the Health & Safety Unit prior to offering work/work experience.

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4 Risk Assessment and Control Measures

4.1
The MHSWR requires a risk assessment to be carried out to determine whether control measures to eliminate or minimise the risks are adequate and ‘Young people at work – a guide for employers’ requires that risk assessments are undertaken before the young person starts work. 

4.2
In the case of children, parents or guardians must be made aware of the content of the assessments and what control measures are in place, again prior to the commencement of work.

4.3
Risk assessments are intended to help with the identification and implementation of control measures, so just undertaking risk assessments is not adequate.  The need for parents of children to be made aware of both the risks and their controls prior to the commencement of work and the local authority requirement for parental consent before employing a child of compulsory school age must also be observed.

4.4
Managers should seek advice from the Staff Development & HR Manager and/or the Health & Safety Unit with regard to risk assessment, control measures, and issues of consent, prior to work commencing.

 

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5 Work Experience Placements for Children Prior to their Minimum School Leaving Date*

5.1
The central University is governed by the Children (Protection at Work) Regulations 1998 (often reinforced by local authority bylaws) and / or the Education Act 1996 in addition to the MHSWR.

5.2
As such it would be usual for the central University to become involved only on receipt of a formal application form (or expressly supported by) a suitably senior school official, i.e. Head Teacher, Head of Year etc.

5.3
Managers should be aware of the significant health and safety issues affecting children as vulnerable individuals in the workplace, including:

  • The requirement to undertake a formal risk assessment (see above);
  • The requirement to provide appropriate and effective supervision, information, instruction and training;
  • The requirement that the child undertake ‘light work’ only;
  • The requirement to ensure adequate rest periods.

5.4
Any work experience placement must be properly documented, planned and regulated.  For further advice and guidance, please contact the Staff Development and HR Manager and / or the Health & Safety Unit.

*  For details of minimum school leaving date, please see relevant paragraph above

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6 Work Experience Placements or Employment of Young Workers

6.1
With effect from 6 April 2003, increased protection was given to young workers through the implementation of new Working Time (Amendment) Regulations.  Mangers must be aware that:

  • Maximum weekly working time for young workers is 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week;
  • Minimum daily rest (i.e. between the end of one working day and the beginning of the next) is 12 hours;
  • Minimum weekly rest (i.e. between the end of one working week and the beginning of the next) is 2 days per week;
  • Minimum in-work rest break is 30 minutes per day if the working day is longer than 4.5 hours (rest to be taken during, and not following, the working day);
  • Young workers are prohibited from undertaking nightwork between 10pm-6am or 11pm-7am).

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