In a world seemingly full of encouragement for young people to make their entrepreneurial mark, it seems that there are still surprisingly few ways for today’s teenagers to earn pocket money. And opportunities that are out there are not plentiful or flexible enough. So, while as they approach adulthood, teens’ spending needs become significant (from volunteering trips to Thailand to buying electronic gadgets, some of which are necessary for their school work), as we found out, most are still being funded by relatively modest allowances from 'Mum & Dad’ plc.
Part of the reason for the absence of teens in the paid labour market is a belief that the legal restrictions are onerous and some of them are. However, a recent article in the Huffington Post discusses ways teens can show entrepreneurial initiative, without breaching UK laws. It demonstrates that while there are some restrictions on hours and conditions for teens, there are ways that this can be done.
The key takeaways from the article are that paid work is generally legal from the age of 13, as long as it doesn’t occur during school hours or before 7am and after 7pm. Other restrictions are on the number of hours teenagers can work during both term and holiday time (generally maximum of 12 hours during the week and 25 hours during the holidays for under 15's), and some environments are not deemed suitable for under 18s, such as alcohol or gambling outlets. In some cases, depending on age and situation, employers may have to get a working permit to be able to hire anyone under 16s. Citizen's Advice Bureau is a good source of information to get your head round all the dos and don’ts.
While it may not be easy to find paid work, everyone agrees that generally (and if sensibly done) it is a good thing. As stated in government current guidance on the employment of children, part-time work ‘can develop self-confidence, communication and organizational skills, familiarity with money and dealing with other people’.
In our next article we will talk more about why we, at MyPocketSkill, think it is high time teens claimed their place in the flexible work market not just for the sake of earning money but much more in order to develop essential life skills. That's why our mission is to make it a simple and enjoyable process for young people as well as prospective employers.