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Are young workers allowed to work the same hours as adult workers?

No. Young workers aged 16 and 17 may not ordinarily work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours per week under the Working Time Regulations, nor at night between 10pm and 6am or 11pm and 7am. Young workers cannot ‘opt-out’ of the 40-hour limit.

They may work longer hours where:

  • this is necessary to maintain continuity of service or production, or to respond to a surge in demand for a service or product;
  • an adult is not available to perform the duties
  • the training needs of the young worker concerned are not adversely affected;
  • they are adequately supervised during night work hours, where that is necessary for their protection; and
  • they are allowed equivalent periods of compensatory rest.

Young workers who are seafarers, employed in sea fishing or part of the armed forces are covered by different regulations.