Saturday jobs for teenagers – yes or no?

Get your child a Saturday job to save money…

It has recently been widely reported in the press that most teenagers do not now have Saturday jobs. In fact, the number of teenagers in Saturday jobs has declined dramatically in recent years.

Whilst in previous generations it was the norm for older school children also to have a job outside of school, the employment rates of 16 and 17-year-olds is now only 25.4% – as compared to 48.1% in the late 1990s.

The result of this is that many teenagers are not gaining any kind of work experience before they leave school or college, which can put them at a disadvantage in the job market.

Some parents are actually quite relieved that there is no longer an expectation that their son or daughter will have a Saturday job. It means one less day of cajoling them out of bed in the morning and then having to ferry them around to work. But others worry about the lost opportunity to get that valuable work experience and learn to be more independent.

It does seem to be the case that there are just not as many Saturday jobs around as there used to be. This seems to be a combination of different factors. Some employers are not able to offer jobs with the hours needed to balance work and school; and also with more older workers seeking flexible working there is increasing competition for those jobs. 

So if your child does want some casual work to fit in with their studies, how do they go about finding this?


Who is and is not allowed to work?

First things first. Before looking for work, your child needs to know what they are and are not allowed to do. This is largely dependent on their age.

The general rule is that 13 is the minimum age a child can start some form of part time job, and this is confined to very part time light work. There are some exceptions to this – such as TV or theatre acting and modelling – but this usually involves relevant licences.

Once your child reaches the age of 15-16, they can work a maximum of 12 hours a week during term time. Of these 12 hours, a maximum of 2 hours is allowed on school days and Sundays, and a maximum of 8 hours on a Saturday.

During school holidays, a child aged 15-16 can work a maximum of 35 hours a week. A maximum of 8 hours a day is allowed on weekdays and Saturdays, and a maximum of 2 hours on a Sunday.

The above rules change once a child has reached the minimum school leaving age. Children are eligible to leave school on the last Friday in June if they are 16 or will be by the end of the summer holidays. They can then work up to  40 hours per week, a maximum of 8 hours per day. 

However, bear in mind that until they reach the age of 18, if they are not remaining in full-time education they need to be in part-time education or start an apprenticeship or traineeship in addition to any paid employment.


What kind of Saturday jobs are available?

There are many different kinds of jobs around, but it may take your child time to track down one that is ideal for them, so be patient. 

Some possible ideas are:

  • Shops
  • Cafes and Restaurants
  • Garden centres
  • Kennels and stables
  • Pet sitting
  • Babysitting
  • Children’ play areas and parties
  • Paper round or leaflet delivering
  • Car washing
  • Gardening and odd jobs


How do they find a Saturday job?

For some good general advice on job hunting and preparing a CV, check out our article A new job for autumn. This article also includes details of some of the main websites where jobs are advertised.

Also look in local papers and local notice boards and online social networking groups for job adverts. It’s also worth walking around your area as many small businesses may put an ad on their own notice boards or in their windows. Be brave and try asking some small businesses direct. Most will say no – so don’t be disheartened – but there might just be an opportunity somewhere that has not yet been advertised. Last but not least use the very powerful tool of word of mouth. Letting people know that your child is looking is a really good way of finding out about jobs that they may never have thought of. 

Wherever they look for work, it’s important that they have a good CV ready to show a potential employer if needed. Even though there may not be much work experience to include, your child can describe the other skills that they have – especially those that are relevant to the kind of Saturday job they are hoping to find. 

Ensure that they come across as an enthusiastic, reliable and hard-working person. Include as much relevant detail as possible. For example, if they have held any positions of responsibility in school, or been involved in any teams, or achieved an impressive personal goal or challenge through sheer determination. Also include details of  hobbies, as this can give employers a good idea of the kind of person that they are.


How much will they get paid?

Anyone over school leaving age will get at least the national minimum wage. For 16-18 year olds this is currently £4.35 per hour (rising to £4.55 in April 2020). Those aged 18-20 will get £6.15 per hour ( £6.45 from April).

Your child’s employer will need to record and report their pay to HMRC as part of running their payroll system, but your son or daughter will not need to pay tax unless their annual income exceeds the state personal allowance of £12500.

It is a good idea to encourage them to develop healthy financial habits straight away and save money from their earnings. Perhaps you can help them to open a savings account and give them some incentive to help them save, such as matching what they put in or giving them a special treat when their savings reach specific milestones. But you will be doing them a huge favour if you can help them to get their financial future off to a flying start.


We hope that the above information is helpful if you have a son or daughter who is keen to find a Saturday job, and that they will soon find the ideal opportunity. 

Check back here soon for more financial and money saving tips from Loans 2 Go.