Summer jobs: rules business owners need to know

Cashiers, delivery drivers, call center agents, day-care center animators... Business owners wishing to hire young people over the summer need to be aware of the specific rules to be respected. At what age can a young person start work? What are their rights as employees? What is the minimum wage to be paid by the employer for a summer job, depending on age? Here are the answers.

Minimum legal age set at 16

Many companies have recourse to summer jobs, whether to cope with an influx of tourists, a temporary increase in activity or to replace employees on leave. In all cases, employers are prohibited by law from recruiting a young person under the age of 16.

There are a number of exceptions to this rule:

  • Apprenticeship: minors benefit from alternating theoretical training at an apprentice training center (CFA) and vocational training at the company with which they have signed an apprenticeship contract.
  • Occasional or short-term work without risk to the young person's health or safety in a family establishment.
  • A job in an entertainment company, film, radio or television, sound recording or modeling.
  • A job during the school vacations: the school vacations must last at least 14 days, and the minor must have a continuous rest period equivalent to at least half the total duration of the vacations.

Before hiring a young person aged between 14 and 16, the employer must request authorization from the labor inspector.

Remuneration at least equal to the minimum wage

The employment contract offered by the company as part of a summer job can take various forms (fixed-term contract, seasonal employment contract, temporary employment contract, etc.).

For those aged 18 and over, remuneration must be at least equal to the minimum wage (SMIC), unless a more favorable collective agreement applies. Minors with less than 6 months' work experience must receive at least 80% of the SMIC for those under 17, or 90% of the SMIC for those aged 17-18. Since May 1, 2022, the SMIC has been set at 1,645.58 euros gross per month, based on a 35-hour week.

Working conditions similar to those of other employees

Young people are subject to the same obligations as the company's other employees and have access to the same benefits. However, those under 18 benefit from special protections. Between the ages of 14 and 16, they may not work more than 35 hours a week and 7 hours a day during school vacations. What's more, they are not allowed to work at night or to perform certain tasks. These workers may only be assigned to tasks that are not likely to jeopardize their safety, health or development.