Hiring School Age Employees

Are you looking at hiring school age employees?

Be sure you adhere to the special restrictions for school age employees, read the below to ensure you are aware of these restrictions.

Restrictions on working hours

If you employ school-aged students, their work hours must be outside of school hours and they cannot work between 10pm and 6am. Essentially, they cannot work any time that interferes with their school work. This includes times that interfere with the student doing school work.

Employment agreement

Firstly, a school age employee must be provided with an employment agreement. This agreement must have all the same minimum employment rights as an adult. Although, in some cases, the minimum wage may not apply.

Secondly, all employees have the right to representation, when dealing with their employer. So, young employees may choose to have their parents support them. Ensure you provide an employment agreement, for the employee to take away and review with a support person.

You can click here to access our Employment Agreement templates.

Minimum wage

  • There’s no minimum wage for under 16 year olds
  • For 16 and 17 year olds that have not completed 6 months continuous service with an employer, you can pay them the starting out rate of $18.52 per hour as of 1 April 2024.
  • Once a 16 or 17 year old completes 6 months continuous service or turns 18, they are entitled to the adult minimum wage of $23.15 as of 1 April 2024.

See our full advice on the minimum wage in New Zealand here.

Record the employee’s age in wage and time records

Just like for all employees, you must keep accurate wage and time records for young employees. In addition, if the employee is under 20 years of age, you must record the employee’s age in these records.

Restrictions on work

In a retail setting, an employee under 15 years old cannot work:

  • in any area where the work requires lifting heavy weights;
  • in any area where the work being done is likely to harm the employee; or
  • with any machinery or assist work with any machinery.

An employee under 18 years old cannot work in:

  • Any restricted area of a licensed premises, usually if that area is open for the sale of liquor. However, they can work in these areas, if they are employed for certain tasks: preparing or serving any meal; cleaning, repairing, maintaining, altering or restocking the area of any equipment; removing or replacing any equipment; stocktaking; or checking or removing cash.
  • Direct access to gaming machines in gaming venues. This covers bars, taverns and clubs – essentially venues where a gaming machine society has obtained a licence to operate gaming machines.
  • Sex work.

Got questions? Retail NZ members can contact our Advice Service on 0800 472 472 (1800 128 086 from Australia), or email [email protected].

As an employer, you need to provide employment agreement with all the important information to a school age employee if you are hiring them. Retail NZ members have access to the Employment Agreement templates free of cost and relevant resources like guides at a discounted price. You can also call our friendly advice service to explain and seek help on your individual situation. Not a Retail NZ member? Click here to learn more about joining our supportive Retail NZ community.

Updated March 2024.

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