Most people will remember their first job during the summer season. It is a great time to enter into employment while you have some extra time away from the books. Not only does it develop important interpersonal and communication skills, but it ultimately adds to your CV and experience when you look for full-time employment later on.

Whether you’re looking for your first summer job, entering the employment ladder or at the early stages in your career, the process and information remains the same when it comes to searching for jobs.

Rights of young workers

Young workers are those aged between 14 to 18, working for an employer. As the majority of this age group are generally in full-time education, they are protected by specific employment laws that differ from adults. This is to make sure they don’t put their education or health at risk.

The law for young workers

  • Sets minimum age limits for employment.
  • Sets maximum working hours.
  • Bans anyone under 18 from doing late-night work.
  • Requires young workers to get specific rest periods.
  • Requires employers to keep specified records for workers under 18.
  • Workers aged 14 and 15 are classed as “children” and workers aged 16 and 17 are classified as “young persons”.
  • Requirements and restrictions

    The law of young workers is set out in the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996. Young workers must show proof of their age to an employer before they can get a job. If they are under 16, they will also need written permission from their parent or guardian.

    By law, young people aged 14 and 15 cannot be employed in regular full-time- jobs. They can do light work during the school holidays, take part in approved work experience or educational programmes or work in film, cultural advertising or sport.

    Working hours for 14 and 15-year-olds

    Outside school term time: Children aged 14 and 15 can work a maximum of 35 hours a week (or up to 40 hours if they are on approved work experience).

    During school term time: Children aged 14 are not allowed work during school time. Children aged 15 can do eight hours of light work a week.

    Restrictions on employing 16- and 17-year-olds

    Young people aged 16 and 17 can work a maximum of eight hours a day, up to 40 hours a week. If the young worker is under 18 and works for more than one employer, their combined daily or weekly hours cannot exceed the maximum number of hours allowed. Young people are only allowed to work between 6am and 10pm. Any exceptions to this rule must be set out by regulations.

    Summary of rights

    Employers must give employees aged under 18 a copy of the official summary of the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, and other details of their terms of employment, within one month of taking up a job.


    It is important you know your working entitlements and rights before starting employment. This is what holidays you’re entitled to, the hours you can work and the minimum wages you should receive.

    Current minimum rates of pay

    Under the National Minimum Wage Act 2000, most employees are entitled to a minimum wage. Since 1 January 2023, the national minimum wage is €11.30 per hour. Some people get sub-minimum rates, see rates below.

  • Working limits if you are 16 or 17
  • Maximum working day: eight hours
  • Maximum working week: 40 hours
  • Time off and rest breaks for children under 16

  • A 30-minute break after four hours of work.
  • 14 consecutive hours off between daily shifts.
  • Two days off (consecutive if possible) a week.
  • Time off and rest breaks for young people aged 16 and ?17.
  • A 30-minute break after four and a half hours of work.
  • 12 consecutive hours off between daily shifts.
  • Two days off (consecutive if possible) per week.
  • Summer job rights

    Time off and breaks from work

    You are entitled to three different types of breaks from work. These include:

    Rest breaks: lunch breaks, tea breaks and other short breaks during the day.

    Daily rest: the break between finishing one period of work and starting the next.

    Weekly rest: whole days when you do not come into work, usually called “days off”.

    Tips for getting a summer job

    Now you understand and know your rights and entitlements, it is time to get to work. At first, you might find it difficult to find employment as the first thing employers ask is what experience have you previously had, and if this is your first job, you will have had none. It is hard to advise people where to go to look for a job because it hugely depends on the area you are living in and the practical aspects of getting to work. The main tips I would give when it comes to finding a job are;

    1. Look local

    A good place to start is the local shops in your area. Are there any tourism attractions opening in your area for the summer season or is there a farmer nearby that might need an extra hand? Try to find a job that you can get to independently. Failing that, speak to your parents and see what their availability would be like if you were to ask for a lift. (It’s a good idea to offer them some money for petrol in return).

    2. Look online

    A large number of jobs are advertised online. There are multiple websites with jobs listed and you can filter the search based on location, job type, salary and position in a lot of cases. Along with this, since COVID-19 there are a number of remote working jobs. If you are living in a rural area or at home these might appeal to you. There are a number of farm-related jobs on our classified website (Insert QR code .

    3. Put yourself out there

    It shows a lot of initiative if you hand your CV into a potential employer in person. There are lots of CV templates online that you can follow, ask your parents or an adult you know who might recruit people to go through it with you. It is the first impression a new employer gets of you so it’s important to have it grammatically correct and well presented.

    4. Make a good first impression

    It is essential to be professional from the start as first impressions are lasting. If you have an interview, dress smart, wear something clean and appropriate, and don’t go into the interview wearing a T-shirt and runners. Interviews can be nerve-racking; most people don’t enjoy them but you have nothing to lose. Be yourself as at the end of the day the person interviewing you is human too.

    5. Do your research

    If you are interviewing for a job in a company, do some research on the organisation before you go into the interview. It shows initiative and it might be what separates you from other candidates. It’s important to outline what you would add to the company and that you actually care about the job and company.

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