Can I pay my fifteen-year-old to work with me during the school holiday?


The school summer holidays are here, and for many parents it can become an expensive and potentially frustrating time spent trying to keep children entertained.

For those with older children at home, one way to prise them away from endless hours on devices is to encourage them to look for some work experience. Teens who work over the summer gain a significant competitive advantage when they enter the world of work as an adult, through helping them prepare for work and developing general business awareness.

Not only is work experience a good way of developing new skills or honing existing preferences in terms of career path, sometimes it also comes with the added advantage of earning some money, too!

Although work experience and temporary part-time jobs can be hard to find, as a business owner you are ideally placed to help. School aged children are a digital-first generation, and there are jobs or projects that older teenagers could be well placed to help you with - perhaps desktop research,website or social media projects, for example.

So, what are the rules and restrictions around employing children, and how can you encourage yours to get off that sofa?

As a business owner, am I legally allowed to employ my own family members?

Employing family members for legitimate tasks such as office admin, customer service or bookkeeping is perfectly acceptable, if that person is being paid an appropriate wage for the role and is actually doing the job.

There must be no preferable treatment in terms of hours or pay, and National Insurance contributions must be paid if they earn more than £166 a week.

However, there is different legislation and child employment laws restricting working teenagers under eighteen…

What’s the minimum legal age a child can be employed?

As a rule, children need to be at least thirteen before they can start any kind of job.

Are there any restrictions around the number of hours a child can work during the holiday?

Thirteen- to fourteen-year-olds can work a maximum of 25 hours a week over the summer holiday, including a maximum of 5 hours on weekdays and Saturdays and a maximum of 2 hours on Sunday.

Children aged fifteen to sixteen can work a maximum of 35 hours a week during school holidays, including a maximum of 8 hours on weekdays and Saturdays, and a maximum of 2 hours on Sunday.

What should do I need to pay a child working for me? Is there a minimum wage for a teenager?

There are no minimum wage restrictions for school-aged children,and under sixteens don’t pay National Insurance,so you only need to include them on your payroll if their total income is over their personal allowance.

Children over sixteen are entitled to at least £4.62 per hour, and as a registered employer you’ll need to record and report their pay as part of your payroll.



Do I need to write a job description or issue a contract?

If you’re considering employing your child within your business over the school holiday, get organised first.

Create a job description detailing exactly what their duties will be and what they will be responsible for, as well as the hours they will be working (within the legal limits) and what they will be paid. Make sure all payments can be tracked from your business account to their personal bank accounts, so that if HMRC do have any queries, you’ll be well prepared.

Are there any other considerations?

Some local councils have extra rules on employing school aged children, and some ask businesses to apply for a childe mployment permit before they employ a child. Check with your local council to find out if this affects you, as without the required employment permit, your business will not have insurance against accidents that may involve the child.

The key facts:

- You can employ a family member as long as they are doing a legitimate job and are not receiving preferable hours or pay.

- Children need to be thirteen or over before they can be employed.

- There is no minimum pay for children under sixteen.

- Children over sixteen are entitled to at least£4.62 per hour.

- You must document duties, pay and any relevant permits.

Helping to foster new talent

As a business owner, giving children the opportunity to gain work experience means you are helping them to develop soft skills, such as communication, empathy and time management, which are valued by every employer.

Work experience also helps children acquire better references and ultimately improves their long-term career prospects, by offering opportunities to learn and develop skills that will prepare them for the real world.


To read more about the rules and restrictions on employing children, visit, or to have a chat with us about the implications of employing a family member, get in touch via happytohelp@bluerocketaccounting.comor call us on 01322 555 442.

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