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Managing my money for young adults
Managing my money for young adults

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1 Earning while you’re learning

A photograph of a young female wearing an apron and holding a plate of cakes.
Figure 1

In the next video Bobby Seagull talks to personal finance expert Jonquil Lowe about the issues and rights of young adults in part-time work. Whether you’re already working or you’re planning to work, this conversation is aimed at you.

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Limits on working hours

  • Under 13. You’re allowed to work if your job is in television, theatre or modelling. You need to get a child performance licence from your local council.
  • Under 16. You can work a maximum of 12 hours a week during school term time, although this includes a limit of 2 hours on individual school days and Sundays. During school holidays the weekly maximum is 25 hours for 13- and 14-year-olds and 35 hours for 15- to 16-year-olds.
  • Between 16 and 18. You may work up to 40 hours a week, but clearly you cannot work during school or college time.

Children are also not allowed to be employed in any work deemed harmful to their health, wellbeing or education. Local bylaws list the jobs children cannot do.

Wage entitlements

National Minimum Wage entitlement starts at school leaving age, at the end of June in the school year you become 16.

National Living Wage entitlement starts at age 23 and replaces the National Minimum Wage.

In 2023/24 the rates per hour for the minimum and living wage were:

under-18 years £5.28 National Minimum Wage
18–20 £7.49 National Minimum Wage
21–22 £10.18 National Minimum Wage
from 23 £10.42 National Living Wage

If you’re in an approved apprenticeship a separate minimum wage applies. In 2023/24 the rate per hour was £5.28 for those aged under 19 or aged 19 and over and in the first year of their apprenticeship. From the age of 19 those who have completed the first year of their apprenticeship are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age or the National Living Wage for those aged at least 23.

From the age of 18 you’re entitled to full adult employment rights, including the right to a contract of employment from your employer.

The key thing is that your studies should come first. Why? Because they’re designed to skill you up, to get you to an entry point that gives you more options than you have at present. They equip you with what you need for a great future career. At the very least, a careful balance needs to be maintained.

Activity 1  Minimum wage check

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

What’s the minimum wage for your age?

If you’re working part-time look at your most recent pay slip. Are you getting paid at least the minimum wage rate that applies to your age?

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Hopefully your employer is complying with minimum wage regulations. If they’re not, you need to bring this to the attention of your parents and then take it up with your employer.