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remove unwelcome restrictions on young workers

Comment 6th August 2010

I own a number of shops that stay open for 12 hours a day. That equates to 2 six hour shifts with one person on at any given time.

By law I can ask an 18 year old to work for 6 hours but a 17 year old can only work for 4 before they have to have a 20 minute break.

I have had dozens of keen 16 and 17 year olds begging for shifts as I pay £6 an hour but I cannot hire them.

They want the work. I want them to work. The only barrier is working regulations. When I asked a Government Representative they told me that this was to make it a fairer deal for younger workers as I only had to pay them £3.57 an hour.

My morals say I should pay people based on the job they do, not their age, sex or any other characteristic. The law says different. The law should be changed.

Why does this matter?

When I was 16 I regularly worked 10 hour shifts in shops, restaurants and on farms. I wanted the money and I was willing to work for it.

Today I would be legally obliged to take a rest every 4 hours, This would only apply on Saturdays because it would be illegal for me to work for more than 2 hours on any other day of the week. I could not start work before 7am or finish after 7pm,

This is a free country where young people are not forced to work. Indeed we have gone in the other direction and introduced laws to stop people working (look under 'your employment rights' for a full list of laws restricting your freedom to work).

I have been forced by law to hire older people who are lazier, less intelligent, less trustworthy and less reliable and had to refuse work to younger people who really deserved it. This cannot be right

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