Recruiting young people information and Q&A


We have developed a range of useful information and resources to help you make sure your recruitment processes are youth friendly including:

Health and safety regulations

When employing a young person under the age of 18, employers have the same responsibility for their health, safety and welfare as they do for other employees. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations in 1999 require employers to:

  • assess risks to all young people under 18 years of age, before they start work
  • ensure the risk assessment takes into account their psychological or physical immaturity, inexperience, and lack of awareness of risks
  • introduce control measures to eliminate or minimise the risks, so far as is reasonably practicable
  • provide certain information to employees and to their parents/guardians.

Legal information

What are the restrictions around working hours for 16-18 year olds?

The law says that young people must not work more than eight hours a day, or more than 40 hours a week, and should not usually work between the hours of 10pm and 6am. There is an exception for hospital work, however young people can only work these times if all of the following apply:

  • they are needed to provide continuity of service (for instance, following a surge in demand)
  • there is no adult available to do the work
  • the young person is supervised by an adult
  • carrying out the work will not impact on the young person's education or training.

You can find full information about these restrictions and exceptions on the Citizens Advice website, as well as the ACAS guidance on employing younger workers.

Can 16-24 year olds carry out personal care in care settings?

Yes. A person aged 16 or over who has left statutory education can work in a care setting, and there is no legislation or ruling that says they cannot work in clinical settings. Additional health and safety requirements do exist for people under the age of 18, but these are not overly complex and simply require the trust to have appropriate risk assessments in place. In 2008, changes to the regulations came into play which now allow 16-18 year olds to provide personal care, as long as they are suitably trained, competent and are appropriately supervised.

Do I need a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for work experience placement students?  

DBS checks are not needed for work experience placements, as the students are supervised at all times. 

Do I need to do a DBS check for under 18 year olds?

A minimum age limit for criminal record checks has been set in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. This means that employers must not apply for a criminal record check for individuals under the age of 16. For 16-18 year olds, a criminal record check can be performed though only if appropriate for the role in question. 

Support is available through the Disclosure and Barring Service website and our NHS Employers Standard on 'Criminal record and barring checks'. 

For further information on regulations and procedures around employing young people on work placements, have a look at the NHS Careers More than Photocopying toolkit .

Useful links

More information about the health and safety requirements for young people at work can be found on the Health and Safety Executive and Young Workers websites.

Guidance from ACAS also gives information on what you need to consider when employing young people.

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