From what age are young people allowed to work?

It is permitted to work from the age of thirteen. Initially this concerns limited “light” work. Children are allowed to perform more and more activities as they get older. Children are protected in legal provisions. They will have to work for decades into the future, and restrictions apply until adulthood. For example, they are not allowed to work with machines, and their performance at school must not suffer as a result. On weekends and days off, they are allowed to do more work than on school days. From the age of 16 they are allowed to perform almost all activities and from the age of 18 there are no restrictions anymore, they are considered adults.

Until when is compulsory education?

Children are required to attend school up to and including the school year in which they turn 16. For example, if they turn 16 in October, the current school year must be completed. In addition, there is also a so-called qualification obligation. This means that they must complete at least MBO2, HAVO or VWO. This can be deviated from under certain conditions.

What kind of work are 13 and 14 year olds allowed to do?

These young people are allowed to work under strict conditions. They may help with light work. For example, they are not yet allowed to work with machines. At this age, what they can and cannot do also depends on when they work. On school days they are only allowed to babysit and wash cars. Some other activities are allowed, but under supervision. This includes: distributing leaflets, helping in the household and helping at the petting zoo. If the parents have a shop or a farm, they may also perform light work here. On days off (no school) they can also help in agriculture and horticulture, or at a campsite or amusement park. The requirement here is that there is guidance.

What kind of work are 15 year olds allowed to do?

In many cases, they are allowed to work independently from this age. They are still not allowed to work with machines and it must be light work. Common and permitted activities for these young people are:

  • Working in horticulture, picking fruit and vegetables (not when using pesticides)
  • Deliver magazines or leaflets door to door
  • Certain work in the supermarket (no cash register work)

What kind of work are 16 and 17 year olds allowed to do?

From this age onwards you are allowed to do almost all work. The young people are almost adults, but there are still a few restrictions. During dangerous work it is still necessary that supervision is present. They are allowed to work in factories and with machines, but an expert must be present. The employer must also clearly explain in advance what the risks are of the work. To demonstrate to the Labor Inspectorate that this has taken place, it must be put in writing. If necessary, he must make protective equipment available (for example gloves and protective goggles).

How long are young people allowed to work?

This depends on the age and time. Less work is allowed on school days than on days off. Young people aged 13 and 14 are allowed to work a maximum of two hours on school days. During the holidays they are allowed to do holiday work with a maximum of seven hours per day and five days in a row. 15 year olds may work a maximum of forty hours a week and a maximum of eight hours a day during the holidays. Young people aged 16 and 17 may work a maximum of forty-five hours a week during the holidays. For all young people, the time they spend at school is counted as working time.