Ask Sam letter


To Sam

My dad

can my dad make me quit my job? im 16 and work 2 jobs

Ask Sam


Hi there,

The law says that when you reach a certain age you’re allowed to work but this age depends on where you live. The amount of time you can work for also depends on how old you are. But for some jobs – like acting or performing – there are special licences you can get to allow you to work whenever you need to. Childline has lots of advice to help you understand the law.

You need to be 13 years old before you can work part time - although there are lots of rules about when you can work, how long you can work and what type of tasks you can do. You can find out more about working part time after the age of 13 on the UK Government website.

You can start working full time as soon as you reach the school leaving age - but this is different depending where you live:

  • In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the school leaving age is 16 and at this time you're free to get a full time job.
  • In England you can work part time when you turn 16 but you must be in some kind of education or training until you are 18 years old.

Regardless of where you live or how old you are, this seems more like an issue of communication. It could help to understand why your dad wants you to quit. He might have good reasons - like wanting to make sure you have enough time to study or worrying that you're working too hard. It might also be that he’s worried about the places you work are unsafe or affecting you. Talking to him and understanding his reasons will help you reach an agreement you’re both happy with.

You might feel worried about getting your dad to understand your position, especially if you’ve had an argument about this before. It can help to first think about why you want to work and how it helps you. Think about the skills you are learning and what you enjoy about doing it. Once you have this prepared, try to think about how could explain this to your dad. You could write it out in a letter first – or practice with someone you trust or a Childline counsellor. Everyone’s different so you need to pick the right approach for you.

Your parents might not change their mind about how much or where you’re working. They’re not able to legally make you quit but tension and arguments at home can be difficult to cope with. If this is the case then you need to decide what's best for you. You are allowed to leave home once you're 16, but this has a lot of other challenges that would be important to think about before making any big decisions.

It can help to talk this through with someone neutral. Childline counsellors are here to listen so you could try talking about your options with them. You can also get support from other young people on Childline’s messaging boards.

I hope that this letter has helped too.

Take care.


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter