Jul 15, 2019 | News

Employing the young

Encouraging young people to take their first steps towards a career in farming is critical for the health of the industry.

The employment of children obviously carries added responsibility and means that very specific rules have to be followed. We are regularly contacted to provide advice and it is important to adhere strictly to the regulations.

The general rule is that a child under the age of 14 may not be employed. However, in some cases there may be local by-laws that relax this stipulation and certain jobs that can be done by a 13 year old. In the first instance farmers must apply to a Local Authority’s education welfare service or education department to find out if a child employment permit is required, and it almost certainly will be. You must also ensure that a risk assessment is carried out before employment begins or you risk not being insured for an accident that involves a child.

The National Minimum Wage and National Insurance contributions do not apply before the age of 16, but there are strict rules on when and where children are allowed to work. They are not allowed to work before 7am or after 7pm; for more than one hour before school; or for more than four hours without at least a one hour break. During school holidays 13 to 14 year olds are only allowed to work 25 hours a week and 15 to 16 year olds 35 hours a week. During term time, children can only work a maximum of 12 hours a week.

In other areas of interest, a number of horse riding establishments open their doors to children as young as 5 or 6 so that they can learn to ride. Charities who work with horses will also have a relationship with social services and the local authority to provide a safe haven and a limited form of training for children as young as 10. Provided that all legal requirements are complied with and full risk assessments are carried out, then insurers will provide cover.

As ever we recommend that you make certain that your insurer is fully aware of what your intentions are. Some insurers may place restrictions on cover and it is important to understand what these are before embarking on providing opportunities for young people.

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