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Employing a 15 year old in licensed premises

Can I employ a 15 year old to work in my pub?

Q: I often allow my 15 year old to work in the pub during the Summer holidays. She has been extremely helpful this Summer, as we have a large garden and the fine weather has meant it has been particularly busy. However, I have just been told by a regular that she should not be allowed to work here as she is too young.

A: Some under 18s (young people) can work in pubs and restaurants; they can wait on tables, collect glasses, clear tables and take orders from customers. Under 18s can even work behind the bar pulling pints and serving whiskies.

They can make sales of alcohol as long as each individual sale has been specifically approved by a responsible person. The responsible person is either the holder of the Premises Licence, the Designated Premises Supervisor or anyone aged 18 or over who has been authorised by the Premises Licence Holder or the DPS to authorise sales made by the under 18s. Beware however, that specific approval of individual sales means that each time an under 18 makes a sale, authority must be given by the responsible person. That is each and every time. In practice, you will always need an adult working with the under 18 in order to approve each sale made by the under 18.

However, there are limits on the times you can employ an under 18 and special rules relating to working time and scope of employment for under 16’s (children) which may prevent you being able to employ them in the pub itself. There are specific break times and working hours which must be adhered to and different rules relating to work during term time and school holidays. Sometimes children are not permitted to work without an employment permit issued by the local council if this is required by local by-laws so you should also check if this applies with your council before employing any children.

Read about the general restrictions regarding children’s working hours on www.gov.uk/child-employment . We would recommend that you seek specialist advice if you have any concerns about particular working practices with young people in your establishment.

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