Surprisingly there are still paper-boys (and girls) who get up really early and earn extra pocket money by delivering daily newspapers around their area.  At one time paper-boys could be as young as 10, especially in rural areas, but now you have to be 13 years old and the pay isn’t great.

The average 13 year old finds the money they can earn doing a paper round beneath contempt.  They can usually manage to wheedle at least that much out of Mum or Dad.

So, do you persuade your kids to do chores in return for pocket-money?  What counts as a payable task – car washing, lawn mowing, weeding, dusting, vacuuming, ironing, cooking, babysitting, cleaning their rooms?  At what point are you paying them for doing the things they should be doing anyway?

The children who have Saturday jobs are fewer too.  They’d rather be out with their mates or playing the latest games than getting out of bed and doing a day’s work.

The law and children at work

At 13 a child can work part-time.  This means no more than 2 hours on school days and Sundays – and not before 7am or after 7pm – and no more than 5 hours on a Saturday.  When the child is 15 they can work up to 8 hours on Saturdays.  To work they need a permit from the local council – and there may be bylaws relating to the type of work they are allowed to do.

During school holidays 13-14 year olds can work a 25 hour week and 15-16 year olds a 35 hour week, but still only 2 hours on a Sunday.

Working kids – good or bad?

As a parent you could come down on either side of the fence:

Against children working For children working
When they’re studying a job is an unnecessary diversion A  job teaches them to be responsible and manage their time
They need to learn to budget on what they get They learn to manage money and save for things they really want and the family may not be able to get them
They are difficult to get out of bed at the best of times, so someone in the family is going to have to get them up on working days They’ll learn to be reliable and that other people are depending on them being in on time
Let them enjoy their youth, they’ll spend enough years in the working world It’s never too early to understand what it’s like to have the responsibility of a job and to earn your own money; it builds character
They don’t need to work so young, they’ll probably need to get a job while they’re at University to help fund their lifestyle. Having some job experience on their CV will help when they apply to University – and make it easier to get a job when they’re at Uni.

To some extent it depends on the child – is yours ready for the responsibility of the working world?  Will it be the making of him/her – or cause the family more headaches than you want?