With businesses already advertising for summer staff, it’s the perfect opportunity for teenagers to earn a bit of extra pocket money over the holidays, or even pick up a part-time job to fit in around their schooling.

But it’s important to note that slightly different laws apply to employees under the age of 18.

There is no minimum working age in New Zealand, but there are age restrictions on where and when young people can work.

Employment must not prevent or interfere with attending school, so those under the age of 16 cannot work during school hours, or after 10pm or before 6am on school days.

There are also restrictions on places of work, for instance an under-14-year-old can’t work as a babysitter, an under-15-year-old can’t work on a logging or construction site and an under-18-year-old can’t work in licensed premises.

There is no minimum wage for employees under the age of 16. And, while the adult minimum wage of $16.50 an hour before tax kicks in at 16, it’s not a given. The starting-out minimum wage of $13.20 can apply to 16 to 19-year-olds for the first six months with an employer.

Parents and guardians have an important role to play in ensuring that young people are treated fairly in the workplace. Read through the terms and conditions with them thoroughly before they sign on the dotted line, and if anything doesn’t look right, or you’re unsure of anything, seek legal advice.

A first job should be a positive experience for your children that sets them up for the future.