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Recruiting 16-year-olds

Can I employ 16 year olds in my restaurant section which has a bar?

Q: My wife and I own a restaurant and we are currently looking for new staff. The premises has a restaurant section and a separate bar section. We are due to interview some candidates next week and two of them are 16 years old. I have checked with the council and there are no relevant byelaws governing employing children in licensed premises. However, can you please confirm whether there any restrictions to employing young people under the Licensing Act 2003 and if there is a distinction between employing them to work in the bar or restaurant section?

A: Under the Licensing Act 2003, any person under the age of 18 is permitted to sell alcohol at a licensed premises as long as the sale has been specifically approved by a ‘responsible person’ such as the premises licence holder, the designated premises supervisor or any other individual over the age of 18 who has been authorised by the premises licence holder or the supervisor.

However, if the person under 18 is only working in the restaurant section no specific authorisation will be required (beyond the usual authority given by a personal licence holder) as long as alcohol is sold or supplied to customers who are consuming a table meal, in an area used for the service of table meals. Conversely, if the person under 18 is to be employed in the bar area as well as, or instead of, the restaurant area, specific approval will be required for any sale or supply of alcohol in the bar area. Specific approval of individual sales means that each time the person under 18 makes a sale of alcohol; the responsible person must give authority. Practically, this means that a responsible person will need to be supervising the person under 18 at all times during his shift.

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