Guidance for Employing Young People

  • Introduction

    1. This policy relates to people who are below the minimum school leaving age.  Providing work opportunities for young people supports the individual, enabling them to add skills and experience to their CV, and it provides Oxford Brookes with an employee for our valuable work.

    2. This document provides guidance about what needs to be considered and in place when employing a young person.

    Purpose

    3. These guidelines have been written so that Faculties/Directorates who receive applications from young people will know what they need to do to comply with best practice and legislation.

    Definition of a young person

    4. A young person is a person who has not reached school leaving age and is aged between 13 and 16 years.  School leaving age is the last Friday in June in the school year in which the young person reaches the age of 16.  N.B. In normal circumstances, nobody below the age of 16 will be permitted to conduct any work, employed or otherwise, on behalf of the University.  This guidance talks about young people aged 13-16 to provide further context and to allow for those rare instances where, for example, young people are asked to contribute to the development of programmes or activities  that form part of our access and participation work. The advice of your People Manager should be sought before offering work to anyone aged under 16. 

    Work Permits

    5. Young people aged 13 to 16 must have a permit from the respective local authority in the area where the job is held if they are undertaking work, whether paid or unpaid.  This rule applies until the young person reaches school leaving age as defined in the section headed Definition of a young person.  Oxford Brookes has a legal duty to inform the local authority and the young person’s parents/carers if they employ a young person. In addition, the young person’s school (depending on the local authority) must consent to the young person working.  N.B. In normal circumstances, nobody below the age of 16 will be permitted to conduct any work, employed or otherwise, on behalf of the University, for more details see the section headed Definition of a Young Person.

    Completing and Registering Work Permits

    6. Line Managers at Oxford Brookes are responsible for obtaining a work permit and arranging for it to be filled in by the appropriate parties.  Links to the appropriate work permit are based on the council area:

    7. Local Authorities state that work permits must be completed and registered with the appropriate local authority within 7 days of the young person commencing employment, but here at Oxford Brookes we require Line Managers to ensure that work permits are completed and registered with the appropriate local authority before the young person commences any employment.

    8. The local authority can fine Oxford Brookes up to £1,000 if we employ young people without a work permit, if we allow them to undertake any prohibited work or allow them to work more hours than are permitted by that local authority.

    9. The local authority can withdraw a work permit at any time if the young person’s attendance, health or school work appears to be affected.

    10. Line Managers are responsible for taking copies of completed Work Permits and submitting them to the People Directorate to be kept on the young person’s personal file before any work is undertaken by the young person

    11. It is likely that the Local Authority will require a passport photo of the young person and may also request copies of the health and safety risk assessment. 

    12. N.B. In normal circumstances, nobody below the age of 16 will be permitted to conduct any work, employed or otherwise, on behalf of the University for more details see the section headed Definition of a Young Person.

    Employment Cards

    13. Some local authorities issue employment cards for young people.  If an employment card is issued it is likely to be sent to the Line Manager as the Line Manager will be conversing with the local authority regarding the employment.  Upon receipt of an employment card, please send this to the People Directorate so that it can be stored on the young person’s personal file.

    Regulation of child employment

    14. The law protects children who work so that they:

    • Are safe from injury
    • Are protected from exploitation
    • Benefit fully from education
    • Have enough spare time to rest and enjoy social activities.

    Light Work

    15. A child aged 13 and above may be employed in light work only.

    16. The law defines light work as work which, on account of the inherent nature of the tasks which it involves and the particular conditions under which they are performed:

    • is not likely to be harmful to the safety, health or development of children; and
    • is not such as to be harmful to their attendance at school or to their participation in work experience or their capacity to benefit from the instruction received or the experience gained. 

    Duties not to be performed by young people

    17. There are certain duties that young people cannot be involved in. They cannot:

    • work in an area that contains alcohol unless it is in sealed containers
    • work in a commercial kitchen but can work outside the kitchen in a restaurant or cafe
    • collect or sort refuse
    • work in an area above ground (external) or floor level (internal) e.g. not on a ladder or scaffolding
    • work in an area involving exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
    • be exposed to material/situations unsuitable for children. 

    18. More details about what duties that can and cannot be performed by children can be found at the following links for each local authority:

    Hours that can be worked

    19. At age 13 and 14 years - on school days this age group can work no more than a total of 2 hours in one day during the following periods:

    • In the morning between 7am and 8am.
    • In the evening between close of school and 7pm.
    • No young person may work more than 12 hours per week during term time.
    • On Saturdays this age group can work 5 hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m
    • On Sundays this age group can only work for 2 hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
    • During School Holidays this age group can work 5 hours a day on any weekday (except Sunday) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
    • Total hours worked each week MUST NOT EXCEED 25 HOURS and must include at least 2 consecutive weeks without employment per year during a school holiday.

    20. At 15 and 16 years of age if under school leaving age - on school days this age group can work no more than a total of 2 hours in one day during the following periods:

    • In the morning between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.In the evening between close of school and 7 p.m.
    • No young person may work more than 12 hours per week during term time.
    • On Saturdays this age group can work 8 hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
    • On Sundays this age group can only work for 2 hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
    • During School Holidays this age group can work 8 hours a day on any weekday (except Sunday) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
    • Totals worked each week MUST NOT EXCEED 35 HOURS and must include at least 2 consecutive weeks without employment per year during the school holidays.

    21. N.B. No young person of any age may work more than 4 hours in any day without a rest break of 1 hour. 

    22. 17 and 18 years

    • Once a young person reaches school leaving age, they are required to do one of the following:
    • stay in full-time education, for example at a college
    • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
    • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training.

    Citizens Advice state that the person who is under 18 years old:

    • is allowed a 30-minute break if they work 4 and a half hours or more in a shift. 
    • should have 48 hours off in one go each week.
    • must have at least 12 hours off between each working day - unless their working day is split into short periods of work.

    The person who is under 18 years old should not be asked to do work that:

    • they are not physically and mentally able to do.
    • is a risk to their health because of extreme cold, heat or vibration - for example by working with a drill or in a freezer.

    The person who is under 18 years old cannot do work where they might be in contact with chemicals, toxic material or radiation unless:

    • it is part of their training.
    • they are supervised by an experienced person.
    • OBU keeps them as safe as possible.

    Health and Safety

    23. The Health and Safety Executive produce the following guidance with regard to employing young people (under the age of 18) which you should read carefully:  http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/index.htm

    24. Key items to note are:

    • For workplaces that include hazards Oxford Brookes already has control measures in place and further advice can be sought from the University Health and Safety Team.  There is also further information on the HSE website for  temperature, noise and  vibration.

    • Risk Assessment - While there is no requirement for Oxford Brookes to conduct a separate risk assessment specifically for a young person, it is good practice for a line manager who has not previously employed a young person in this role and in the area where the young person will work to  review their risk assessment and take into account the specific factors relevant to young people before a young person starts with them e.g. physical and psychological capabilities, equipment and machinery, exposure to extremes and the fact that “obvious” risks may not be obvious to the young person.
    • Physical Capability - Due to their muscle strength not being fully developed, a young person may be more at risk and they may be less skilled in handling techniques or in pacing the work according to their ability. When assessing a young person's physical capability, the line manager must consider their physical capability. This could be as simple as asking themselves the question 'can a young person who is still developing be expected to lift the weights that older, more experienced employees can?'
    • Psychological capability - Line managers must ensure that the young person understands what is expected of them, checking they understand and are able to remember and follow instructions. It is important that young people are given the necessary training and supervision.
    • Harmful exposure - Harmful exposure means exposure that has long-term health effects on a still-developing young body. Line managers must be aware of the substances a young person might come into contact with at Oxford Brookes and needs to consider exposure levels and ensure legal limits are met.
    • For many young people the workplace will be a new environment and they will be unfamiliar with ‘obvious’ risks and the behaviour expected of them in response.  Line managers should anticipate this and guide the young person proactively.
    • Young people might need additional support to allow them to carry out their work without putting themselves and others at risk, and this might mean more tailored training and/or closer supervision.  Line Managers should regularly check a young person’s progress and identify where any additional adjustments may be needed.  This is also why it is often appropriate to put age limits on the use of some equipment and machinery. Where such age limits are in place, advice from the University Health and Safety Team should be sought by the line manager.
    • Hazard exposure is a state of being in which a person or a group of people remain in an imminent risk of danger. Exposure to extremes of any hazards carry risks for workers of all ages and could lead to health issues. To avoid risks to young people, line managers need to comply with relevant legislation and consider a risk control programme which might include:

      • limiting time/level of exposure
      • providing information training and supervision
      • provision of protective equipment 
      • health surveillance

    25. Any and all staff involved in working with the young person must read the following document: Safeguarding of Children Policy https://www.brookes.ac.uk/human-resources/working-here/employment-policies/safe-guarding-of-children-policy/

    26. Colleagues should know where their nearest OBU designated safeguarding officer is prior to the start of the young person’s employment: https://kmis.brookes.ac.uk/csms/wtel_dir.query?choice_type=QUAL&choice_value=SAFEGUARDING. (In case of concerns about any disclosures from students, or concerns about their welfare in general).

    27. Line managers and colleagues must understand the term ‘regulated activity’ involving Minors: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/550197/
    Regulated_activity_in_relation_to_children.pdf

    DBS

    28. A DBS check will be required for any staff member who will be working alone with a young person under the age of 18 years.  The young person work with different staff members provided the staff member who has been DBS checked has line of sight of the young person at all times.  There are strict guidelines about when a person can be DBS checked and managers are responsible for ensuring they stay within the guidelines.  More information can be found at the following link: https://www.brookes.ac.uk/human-resources/working-here/employment-policies/dbs-certificate-information/

    Line Managers’ Responsibilities

    29. Complete the work permit for the appropriate local authority, getting all parties to complete their part of the form and submit it to the local authority before the young person commences employment, including a passport size photo of the young person if required. 

    30. Send a copy of the work permit to the People Directorate for storing on the young person’s personal file.

    31. Ensure the risk assessment is undertaken and provide a copy to the local authority with the work permit if required. 

    32. Ensure that the hours worked by the young person are within the parameters detailed in this guidance.

    33. Ensure staff have been DBS checked where appropriate. 

    34. Ensure the young person performs permitted duties only as required by the local authority.

    Application and Interview

    35. Young people should follow the same recruitment process as Oxford Brookes uses for all jobs: an application form should be completed and an interview held, including for casual employment and variable hours employment.

    Induction and Supervision

    36. The Supervisor and Line Manager are responsible for the induction of the young person and should follow the Induction Programme in Appendix A. This includes essential information such as health and safety procedures, fire safety, location of toilets, kitchen facilities, knowing where and when they can take a lunch break etc.  The Supervisor and Line Manager will be responsible for supervising the young person each day and taking them to the location where they are working, ensuring that staff who will be looking after the young person have been DBS checked - see further guidance under the section headed DBS. 

    37. The Supervisor and Line Manager will ensure that the young person is given suitable work that is appropriate to their skills and abilities, and all work performed by the young person will be checked. 

    38. A young person should have all the benefits and support that any new employee would be given.  A young person may need more guidance and supervision as this may be their first job and they may not have the life experience that other staff have.

    Contract and Payment

    39. Young People will be given the same contract of employment as any other staff member, whether it is a casual contract, variable hours contract, or regular contract, and the same hourly rate.  It is the supervisor’s and line manager's responsibility to ensure that they have undertaken all the actions detailed in this document and that the appropriate rest periods are provided in accordance with legal requirements.

    Appendix 1: Induction