What are the rules for employees beneath 18 years?

Modified on Wed, 20 Mar 2024 at 05:07 PM

Per age, there are different rules concerning employees under 18 years in the hospitality business. You can read it below.


13- and 14-year-olds

13- and 14-year olds are only allowed to work on non-school days and during vacation weeks. They cannot work on Sundays. Their work activities can only consist out of "non-industrial help labor of light nature". Included are for instance helping with waiting tables.


Doing dishes with an automated dishwasher is frequently considered industrialized labor, which is not allowed. Take into account that cleaning products fall into the category of dangerous substances and this age group is not permitted to work with these. To avoid the child labor label, one has to show the safety, health and development of the child is protected. That counts for both the work activities itself and the way the work is structured.


Drinking and catering law: outside of an area where alcohol is served, employees <16 may work (albeit with limitations).



Children of 15 years are allowed to work more than 13- and 14-year-olds:

  • On Saturday or on Sunday*, not both in a row
  • On school days a maximum of two hours
  • A maximum of 12 hours per school week
  • A maximum of 40 hours per vacation week
  • After 7 AM and before 7 PM**

*For working on Sunday, 15-year-olds need explicit consent from their parents or caregivers. **In the vacation periods, 15-year-olds are allowed to work until 9 PM.


A 15-year-old is allowed to perform (help) labor in the hospitality business, which excludes industrialised labor. A 15-year-old is allowed to help the head dishwasher with storing the dishes and perform light activities in the kitchen, like polishing and doing dishes by hand. They are also permitted to set up the terrace and wait tables at a lunchroom or a coffee shop.




According to the Liquor- and Hospitality law, children younger than 16 years are only allowed to work in spaces where no alcoholic beverages are served or sold. They're not permitted to work in spaces where people drink alcoholic beverages. They are also not allowed to work with machines (like a dishwasher) or to operate a cash desk.


Adolescents of 16 and 17 years

16- and 17-year-olds have the following possibilities to work:

  • On Saturdays AND Sundays, unless they need to go to school on the Friday before or the Monday after
  • Until 11 PM at night
  • A maximum of 9 hours a day
  • A maximum of 45 hours a week
  • An average of 40 hours a week during a time span of four consequent weeks
  • School time counts as labor time

Employees of 16 years and older are allowed to work in a bar or restaurant and serve all kinds of alcoholic beverages to guests. This counts for both apprentices as regular employees. There does need to be supervision by an adult expert during the execution of these work activities.

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