Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twenty-Seventh Report


Memorandum by the Department of Health


The Committee has requested a memorandum on four points concerning the above Regulations.

The Committee's first point

In the opening words of section 18(1) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 ("... no child shall be employed.."), does "child" have the meaning given by section 107(1) (that is, a person under the age of 14 years) or some other, and if so, what meaning? If it has the meaning given by section 107(1), explain why new paragraphs (g) and (h) have been included in section 18(1), given that they apply to a person over the age of 14 (and who therefore comes within the definition of "young person", rather than "child", in section 107(1)).

In section 18(1) "child" has the meaning given by section 30 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 ("the 1933 Act"). It means a person who is not over compulsory school age which is currently defined in section 8 of the Education Act 1996 to mean persons up to and possibly (in accordance with the specific provision in that section) including the age of 16.

The Committee's second point

Article 8(1)(b) of Directive 94/33/EC limits the working hours of children to two hours on a school day and 12 hours a week for work performed in term-time outside the hours fixed for school attendance. Explain whether this limitation of 12 hours a week has been implemented by the Regulations.

The limitation of 12 hours permitted work a week has not been implemented by the Regulations. By virtue of Article 171(b) of Directive 94/33/EC the United Kingdom is not required to implement this limitation until 22 June 2000.

The Committee's third point

Article 10(2) of the Directive provides that, for each seven-day period, children and adolescents (as defined in article 3) are entitled to a minimum rest period of two days, to run consecutively if possible. This may be reduced in certain circumstances, but never to less than 36 hours. Explain whether this provision has been implemented by the Regulations.

The amendments to section 18(1) of the 1933 Act made by these Regulations, read together with the prohibition in section 18(1)(e) that a child may not work more than two hours on a Sunday, have the result that over a weekend a child can work at most seven hours (ten hours in the case of a 15 year old). The minimum rest period required by Article 10(2) of the Directive may, by virtue of Article 10(3), be interrupted in the case of activities involving periods of work that are of short duration. It is the Department's view that the possible two hours work on a Sunday is work "of short duration" such that the Department has not failed to implement the requirement of the Directive concerning rest periods.

The Committee's fourth point

Explain whether article 9 of the Directive, which prohibits work by children and adolescents between certain specified hours, has been implemented by the Regulations in relation to persons over the age of 14 years.

Section 18(1)(c) of the 1933 Act, as enacted before the amendments made by these regulations, prohibits the employment of a child before seven o'clock in the morning or after seven o'clock in the evening. A child, as defined in section 30, may include a person over the age of 14 years. No amendment to section 18 is therefore required to implement article 9 of the Directive in relation to a child as so defined.

10th March 1998

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