While work experience can offer students valuable experience of employment and the workplace, it is vital that a part-time or temporary job does not have a negative impact on a student’s education.

The Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, 1996 was designed to ensure that employment would not usurp the important role of education. Some basics contained in this Act are:

  • Children under 14 years of age cannot be employed in a regular fulltime capacity.
  • Children age 14 may not work during school term, but can be employed during school holidays for a maximum of 35 hours per week between the hours of 8a.m. and 8p.m. with two consecutive days off in each 7-day period.
  • 15-year olds may work a maximum of 8 hours per week during school term and a maximum or 35 hours per week during school holidays between the hours of 8a.m. and 8p.m. with two consecutive days off in each 7-day period.
  • Both 14 and 15 year olds must have a break of three weeks from work during the summer holiday period.

A comprehensive information leaflet, which also contains information about 16 and 17 year olds, may be obtained from the Department of Enterprise and Employment. There is also a Code of Practice Concerning the Employment of Young Persons in Licensed Premises which a number of organisations have signed up to. IBEC, the employers’ organisation, recommends that pupils in examination classes should not be employed during the school term.

Breaches of the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act may be reported in confidence to the Labour Inspectorate, Department and Employment.

External link to legislation: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1996/en/act/pub/0016/index.html

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