NHF asks: do you know the law on employing youngsters?

July 11, 2019

With school holidays looming, many salons think about taking on a young person but it can be a tricky area from a legal point of view.

Tina Beaumont-Goddard, NHF/NBF Director of Membership, said, “At this time of year we get lots of calls from salon owners wanting advice about employing young people, especially if they’re starting an apprenticeship in September.  There’s a lot of confusion about whether they should be paid the apprenticeship rate or the age-related minimum wage.  It’s vital that employers take expert advice because this is one of the key reasons for under-payment, which can lead to big fines, back payments and naming and shaming.”

The law treats children and young people differently.  A child is someone under the minimum school leaving age, but this age is defined differently in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  The youngest age a child can work is 14, and then only part-time, unless your local authority allows you to employ 13 year-olds (also part-time only).  There are restrictions about the hours and times that a child can work, for example no more than two hours on a Sunday.

Someone who is above the minimum school leaving age and who is also under 18 is defined as a young person.  There are also restrictions on the hours that a young person can work, and how much time they need to have for rest breaks and for time off.  Employers need to provide them with a written statement of employment as a minimum, but a proper employment contract is a safer option.

The NHF and the NBF are independent not-for-profit organisations that offer a range of business support services to hair salons, barbershops and beauty salons. From legal, employment and financial guidance to expert advice for managing people and boosting business.