This information was compiled to help you understand what the law says about the number of hours you should be working and what rest breaks you are entitled to.

young lady sleeping, ignoring the alarm clock

Did you know

  • The UK has laws about what jobs and hours young people can do.
  • Some employers don’t know the laws about young people at work, so make sure you do.

The laws are there to protect you!

Who does the law cover?

  • All young workers (except those who are genuinely self-employed)
  • Part-time, casual, temporary and agency workers.
  • Apprentices and those on Foundation Learning programmes.

How many hours can I work?

  • Young people can’t work more than 8 hours a day (this does not include breaks)
  • Young people can’t work more than 40 hours per week (this does not include breaks)
  • Unlike adults, there is no opt out for this. You can’t work any extra hours or shifts, even if you want to.
  • If you work for two different employers on the same day, you still can’t work for more than a total of 8 hours.

Can I work at night?

In many jobs night work is not allowed between 10.00pm and 7.00am. You are only allowed to work at night if you work in certain sectors, which include:

  • the Armed Forces
  • hospitals (or adult health and social care within a hospital – this does not include care homes)
  • retail trade
  • hotel and catering businesses
  • bakeries
  • fisheries
  • newspaper or postal deliveries
  • work in connection with cultural, artistic, sporting or advertising activities

What rest breaks am I entitled to?

  • A rest break of 30 minutes if you work more than four and a half hours at a stretch and this must not be taken at the start or end of your shift.
  • 12 uninterrupted hours off each 24 hour period in which you work.
  • 48 hours off work in each seven day period. This can mean that you may still work up to 10 days; for example in a two week period you may have your 2 days off at the beginning of week one and then your next 2 days at the end of week two.

Time off and holidays

  • If you are 16 or over, have left school and are working full-time, you have the right to a minimum of 28 days paid annual holiday.