Students working hours

Published 22 September 10

working hours

There is a statutory requirement in the UK that students work no more than 20 hours per week during term time, although there are no other restrictions apart from the Working Time Regulations to their working hours during the summer holiday period unless they are below the age of 18.

Workers aged 16 & 17

If workers are over the minimum school-leaving age but under 18 years of age, they are in most instances not permitted to work for more than eight hours a day (or 40 hours a week). Anybody in this age group must also be given:

  • A break of 30 minutes every 4½ hours worked.
  • A rest period of 12 hours between each working day.
  • Two days off per week.

Young workers are also limited with respect to the hours they may legally work between 22.00 and 06.00.


Workers under the age of 16

In general terms, in England, Wales and Scotland young people aged between 13 and the minimum school-leaving age may not do any work, either paid or unpaid:

  • Before 07.00 or after 19.00.
  • For longer than two hours on a school day or Sunday.
  • Before the close of school hours.
  • For more than 12 hours per week during term time.
  • For more than five hours (13 to 14 year olds) or eight hours (15 to 16 year olds) on Saturdays and during school holidays on weekdays.
  • For more than 25 hours in total a week (35 hours if aged 15 or over) during school holidays.
  • For more than four hours without taking a break of at least one hour.
  • In any occupations prohibited by local bylaws or other legislation.

Local authorities may also have their own rules affecting school-aged workers.

In Northern Ireland the rules differ, find out more.

For more detailed information see Business Link and DCSF