Can I employ people under 18 in my pub?

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In addition, in 2019, of the 1.762 billion people employed in the sector, 620,000 were young people between the ages of 16 and 24, and in the three months leading up to October 2021, the sector recorded 1.17 million job vacancies. , the second highest number of vacancies recorded, and against 139,000. in the previous quarter.

A spokesperson for the BII said: “With widespread staff shortages, licensees have had to diversify and attract staff from many different fields and the employment of young people has been essential in overcoming these challenges.”

The morning announcerexamined how hiring under the age of 18 could help publicans reduce the number of job vacancies in the industry, as well as the opportunity for young people to step up on the employment ladder.

Great advantages

Licensee of the Drunken Dragon pub in Bicknacre, Essex, Dave Davies said: “We have employed under 18s in our pub restaurant since our opening.

“The biggest problem we’ve found is that a lot of them leave once they get a car and find that their friends are all socializing elsewhere, there is a real staff crisis in the area. sector at the moment and it is difficult to find reliable people to fill roles. . “

While employing staff under the age of 18 can pose some challenges for publicans, it could still be beneficial to all concerned, as publicans gain potentially long-term employees and younger staff have the opportunity to learn pub etiquette before their peers.

A graduate of Red Lion and Sun, Highgate, North London, Heath Ball said: Site with turnover of £ 1m + and in the process of obtaining a management degree.

“As an employer in the hospitality industry, there are two big advantages: we can demonstrate how great this industry is and at the same time, young people also see how demanding the public can be.

“From an employee’s perspective, they learn to understand the industry, learn about the food and the wide range of wines and beers available, it really prepares them for a more fulfilling social life and teaches them to eat well and drink outside. “

The BII spokesperson added that not only would hiring young employees give pubs the chance to educate them on best drinking practices, but it would also present them with available career opportunities.

According to licensing attorneys at Poppleston Allen, the main considerations when employing minors are the legal responsibility of publicans to ensure children are not in danger and to check with local authorities for them. regulations, including whether a child needs a work permit.

The Licensing Act 2003 states that they are not allowed to physically distribute alcohol or order drinks behind the bar unless supervised by an adult, but those under the age of 18 can take orders. and deliver alcoholic beverages to be consumed with a meal, unless local authorities specify otherwise, but each individual sale of alcohol will need to be approved by a staff member over the age of 18 along with any age verification.

Things to consider

Working hours for those under 18 are also subject to restrictions, depending on age and school period or school holidays.

The law states that a child worker is considered to be 13 to 16 years old (if still in school) and that he cannot work without a two week break from all work during the school holidays of each calendar year, cannot work more than four hours without at least one hour’s break and cannot work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

Term length rules for children

Can work a maximum of 12 hours per week but no more than an hour before school, two hours on school days and Sundays, five on Saturdays for 13-14 year olds and eight for 15-16 year olds.

School holiday rules for children

13-14 year olds can work a maximum of 25 hours per week with no more than 5 hours worked on weekdays and two hours on Sundays, while 15-16 year olds can work a maximum of 35 hours per week, with no more than eight on weekdays and 2 on Sundays.

A young worker is considered to be 16 to 17 years old and has fewer work restrictions.

Working hours for young workers

Young workers can work a maximum of eight hours per day and 40 hours per week with at least two consecutive days off per week, if a shift were to last longer than 4.5 hours, they would need at least one 30 minute break. The shifts of young workers must also be spaced at least twelve hours apart and they cannot work between 12 p.m. and 4 a.m. or between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except to meet an increase in demand where no adults are available, or between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., unless agreed in their contract.

Young workers are entitled to the national living wage (or apprenticeship rate), must receive a payslip and be on the payroll while a child under 16 is not, provided local regulations.

It seems clear that youth employment in pubs could give the sector a much needed boost, however, it is something that needs to be done with great foresight and consideration.


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