Employing Young People Under the age of 18 in General Practice

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Employing Young People

Employing under 16s

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Staff recruitment can be a time-consuming process and choosing the right candidate for any role in General Practice is always paramount.

NHS Employers say, attracting and recruiting young people from the local community can help develop a more diverse future workforce, offering pathways to young candidates who might not have considered careers in the NHS, or for those not wishing to remain in full-time education who are looking for a route into sustainable employment. has guidance on Child Employment which says:

Offering part-time work to a young person, alongside their part-time education or offering a full-time Apprenticeship can be a very rewarding experience, for all parties involved. has step-by-step guidance on Employing an Apprentice which includes choosing an apprenticeship for your practice, finding an organisation that offers training, information on what training funding you can get and how to create and advert, apprenticeship agreement and training plan.

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Employing Young People

There are key issues to consider when employing all young people, which include:

Assessment of the Role

  • A detailed assessment should be carried out to ensure that the nature of the work, the level of supervision, and the working hours are suitable for the individual, taking into account any knowledge the employer has of the individual’s capacity and capabilities.
  • This assessment may result in a need to make adjustments to the role. For instance, close supervision may be appropriate when undertaking particular tasks.


  • Training with regards to confidentiality. The young person may have access to confidential information relating to patients and their carers, practice staff and other healthcare workers. They may also have access to information relating to the practice as a business organisation. All such information from any source is to be regarded as strictly confidential and they must be made fully aware of their responsibilities with regards to confidentiality.

Employers Liability Insurance

  • Check that your practice policy includes employment of young people.

H&S Risk Assessment

  • organisations that employ young people must carry out the assessment with those individuals specifically in mind. They must consider a number of factors, such as the inexperience and immaturity as well as the psychological capacity of young people, the suitability of work equipment for use by young people, and the extent of health and safety training that will be required.
  • If employing a young person, the young person’s parents must be provided with a copy of the assessment.

Minimum Wage

  • From 1st April 2024 young people (16- to 17-year-olds) are entitled to at least £6.40 per hour.

Safeguarding and support

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks must be carried out on any employees who will have day-to-day responsibility for a young person or are likely to work with a young person unsupervised. This would ordinarily include the young person’s line manager and/or supervisor.
  • the minimum age at which someone can be asked to apply for a criminal record check is 16 years old.

Training and supervision

  • With any employee, but especially with younger employees, it is of paramount importance that the employer ensures that the significance and importance of confidentiality is highlighted and that the consequences of data breaches or loss of confidentiality could lead to fines to the organisation and personal responsibility, including loss of the job. As a younger person working with such sensitive information, it is key that the employee understands how to manage personal information and that you as an employer have assured yourself of their knowledge and responsibility within the role.
  • Employers should ensure that young people are properly trained and supervised and that those responsible for their supervision have themselves received suitable training.
  • Indeed, it is likely that a young person’s role will involve training, as the Education and Skills Act 2008 requires young people to receive some form of education or training until their 18th birthday.

Working hours

Casual/temporary workers e.g. younger workers in school or university holidays

  • Practices can employ casual workers to undertake tasks within a practice. However, we would recommend practices undertake a risk assessment of the job being undertaken and ensure appropriate training is given, especially with regard to confidentiality and information governance.
  • Casual workers must be considered to need the same training for a specific task as non-casual employees and should only undertake tasks appropriate to their own training, background and skill sets.
  • Make sure you are aware of the laws around payment for casual or non-contracted work when it comes to employment contracts, pay, holiday, and responsibilities to them as an employer – just because they are considered “casual” this does not preclude the practice from an employers’ responsibilities.

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Employing under 16s

Many local authorities require employers to apply for a permit, and, generally, a separate permit is required for each young person until they reach the age of completion of compulsory schooling. This is the last Friday in June of the year in which the child turns 16.

Usually, permits will be granted only if the local authority is satisfied that the young person’s health, welfare and education will not be jeopardised by the employment.

An exception is made for young person in the last two years of school, who are permitted to take part in work experience placements.  We have further guidance on our website for Students in General Practice and Work Experience.

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