Employing family members

Employing young family members


It's common for businesses to employ young family members for part-time work or during school holidays.

Employment rights for young family members

Young family members have most of the employment protection rights as other young people and children.

For example, you can't employ young people:

  • for most businesses, if they are under 13 years of age, except in certain professions, eg in performance, modelling or in sporting activities
  • in any industrial undertaking, for example on a building site or in a factory
  • in a pub
  • in a betting shop
  • during school hours or continuously during the year

There are also laws on working hours, work breaks and the type of work for those under school-leaving age and those aged 16 and 17 years. See employing children and young people.

You must give employees aged 16 and 17, who did not reach a certain standard of education or training, the right to reasonable time off with pay to study or train for a qualification that will help them reach that standard.

The national minimum wage (NMW) for young family members

You do not have to pay the NMW to workers in the family business, provided they are members of your family and share your family home.

See family, friends or neighbours and the national minimum wage.

Local laws

There may also be additional laws that apply to your business, such as the number of hours in each day or week, and the times of day, that children can be employed. The Education Authority will be able to advise you on these.

Insurance for young people

If you employ family members who are under 16, you must ensure that your employer's liability and public liability insurance policies cover young workers and volunteers under the age of 16.