Ask Sam letter


To Sam

How to get a job

Hey Sam,
I was just wondering how old I have to be to, and how I can, get a job at my age. I'm 14, nearly 15, and so according to the 'Your Rights' section I'm legally allowed to get a part-time job since I'm over 13. I really want to help my parents out with money - we're really struggling with making ends meet and so they can barely afford to get me new clothes when I need them sometimes, and when they can afford to give me new things, I always feel so guilty I can't bear it - after all, they are giving up nice things to get ME nice things. I have a 16 year old brother, so he can technically get a job, but his timetable is so full up with sport he can barely fit a part-time job in.
So I've researched on the internet, but it says you have to be 16 to get a part-time job - is this true? Or is this only in America? Thank you so much in advance, I'm quite confused at the moment :D xx
Ask Sam



Thank you for writing to me about wanting to get a part-time job. It sounds like you’ve already thought about this quite a bit. I can hear how much you want to help your family out financially and I think that’s a very mature and caring attitude to have.

I can hear that you’ve had a bit of trouble finding accurate information on the internet and it can be hard to know what to believe. As you’ve seen in the Your Rights page in Explore, you can get a part time job at 13, but there are some restrictions on the type of work you can do, and the hours you can work. This is to protect young people from being misused by employers, or working so much that it has a negative effect on their education. The Government website has more information about the law and young people and employment and that might be a good place to look.

You might want to think about how a part-time job will fit into your own life. For example, will you need to give something else up to make time? How might it affect other things you need to do, like school work and studying for exams? On the plus side, choosing a part-time job carefully could enable you to do something you enjoy, and also give you valuable experience.

Because there are so many rules about the type of jobs than you can have under the age of 16, it can be quite hard to find one. Don’t let that put you off though, if you’ve decided to go for it, it’s worth persevering. If you have a Connexions office in your local area, they might be able to give you some suggestions about where to start looking. You could also try speaking to the National Careers Service, who offer advice to 13-19 years old about employment and training. They have an online chat and email address, as well as a freephone number.

I can see from your letter that there is quite a lot going on at home, and it sounds like you’ve been feeling quite stressed and guilty. It might help to talk it through with someone, so that you can get a chance to express your feelings, and maybe talk through your plans for getting a job in a bit more detail. You can talk to a ChildLine counsellor on the phone or on line, or send an email if you don’t need an instant response.

Take care,


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