Children & Young Persons

While the employment of children under 16 is generally prohibited by the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, 1996, a child over 14 years may be permitted to do light work during school holidays provided it is not harmful to health, development or schooling or may be employed as part of an approved work experience or education programme. A child over 15 may also do such work for up to 8 hours a week during school term. Any child under 16 may be employed in film, theatre, sports or advertising activities under licence.
An employer wishing to employ anyone under 18 must first require the production of their birth certificate, or other satisfactory evidence of age. Before employing a child under 16 the employer must also get written permission from the parents or guardian.
The Act further provides for the setting of limits to the working hours of young people, provides for rest intervals and prohibits night work. As regards working hours, young people may not work for more than 8 hours in any day or 40 hours in any week.
Employers who employ young people under 18 years of age must display a summary of the Act and also give a summary of the Act to the
employee. They must also keep a register containing the following information of each person under 18 employed:
  • full name
  • date of birth 
  • time work begins and finishes each day
  • rate of pay per pay period
  • total amount of wages or salary paid to each person
Employers found guilty of an offence under the Act are liable on summary conviction of a fine of up to €1,904.61. Continuing breaches of the Act can attract a fine of up to €317.43 per day. 
Proceedings for breach of the provisions of the Act may be taken by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment or by the employee’s parent or guardian within 12 months of the alleged breach. Young people and parents may also refer certain breaches of the Act to the Rights Commissioner.

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