Working hours for young people

Children and young people are sensitive to chronobiology disorders due to working late evenings or early mornings. It is also important that working time does not hinder school-going.

In the provisions about young peoples’ work environment, AFS 2012:3 (available in Swedish), there are specific regulations about working hours. When there is not something specific in the provisions, the Working Hours Act also applies to young people. It is possible to make an exception from the regulations in the Working Hours Act via collective agreements. A collective agreement can, however, not replace the regulations in the provisions about the work environment of young people.

Regulations for working hours apply to both employers and commissioning bodies. There are special regulations for apprentices.

Calculate the total working hours

If a young person has different employers, the total working time must be calculated. This means that when you calculate working time for the young person, you must deduct the time that the person works for someone else. When you hire a young person you need, therefore, to ask if he or she is working for someone else, is doing an internship or is doing an apprenticeship. You also need to find out when and how the person in such cases works or interns.

If there are specific reasons, the Swedish Work Environment Authority can make an exception from certain working hours regulations for performances and rehearsals within cultural and artistic activities, and during sporting and advertising events.

Working hours for children

  • During school weeks, children may work a maximum of 2 hours every school day or 7 hours every school-free day, but at the most 12 hours per school week.
  • During school holidays of at least a week, children may work at the most 7 hours a day and 35 hours a week.
  • Children may not work between 8pm and 6am. They should have at least 14 hours of continuous free time from work for night rest (daily rest).
  • Weekly rest should happen at a time that is free from scheduled education.
  • Children should have at least 4 weeks of continuous free time from work every calendar year. The free time should happen at a time that is free from scheduled education. This means that if the summer holiday is ten weeks, children may work at the most six of these.
  • For younger children who work within the close family, it is the parents who decide the working hours.

Working hours for young people

For young people, working hours may not hinder school-going or the possibility to get to school education.

Young people may work at the most 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. If necessary, with consideration to the working tasks or other working conditions, an exception applies from this regulation. In that case young people may instead work up to 8 hours per day on average in a seven-day period. Weekly working hours may then be 40 hours per week on average over a four-week period. This means that one, for example, can work 10 hours one day if one works 6 hours another day.

Young people should have at least 12 hours of continuous free time during every 24-hour period (daily rest). The time between 10pm and 6am or between 11pm and 7am should be free from work.

Daily rest may be shortened to 11 hours at workplaces where an ordinary working shift ends between 10pm and midnight, or begins between 5am and 7am. If the person has several shifts during a 24-hour day and no shift is longer than 4 hours, daily rest may also be shortened to 11 hours. Several shifts during every 24-hour period may be used restrictively. A prerequisite to be able to shorten nightly rest for young people is that a compensatory rest period follows immediately after work is over. 

Night work, breaks and weekly rest

A young person may not work between midnight and 5am. The person should have a continuous break of at least 30 minutes after four and a half hours of work at the latest. In addition, there is a demand in the Working Hours Act for breaks from work, for example a coffee break.

Young people should have a period of rest from work of at least two days during each seven-day period, so-called weekly rest. As far as possible the weekly rest should be continuous and scheduled at the end of the week. The continuous free time may not be less than 36 hours.

Regulations for apprentices

There are special regulations that apply for young persons participating in workplace-based education within upper secondary school apprenticeship education or similar. The working time regulations in the provision apply whether the pupil is employed or not. If the pupil has education in school the same week as workplace-based education, the number of allowed hours for workplace-based education is reduced by the amount of time the pupil has education in school. Young persons taking part in apprenticeship have the possibility to work 20 hours a week over and above their apprenticeship training.

Last updated 2024-01-04