On the 23rd of January, the Transition Years attended a talk by Maria O’Shaughnessy, of Youth Connect Ireland. The aim of this talk was to educate us on our rights in the working world. It is extremely important that we know a workers rights, since many of us have started getting part-time jobs.

At the beginning of the talk, she asked us about our week of work experience, that we had a few weeks ago. After sharing our opinions on our placements, she began asking us what we thought legal working hours for minors are, amongst other things. She informed us that there are certain times under sixteen year olds can work, that are different for under eighteen year olds, and they get different breaks.

After this, she showed us some of the cases of working teenagers that she had encountered in the past. The first, and the most shocking of all, was that of a boy, working on a milk truck from one in the morning, to one in the afternoon. So much of this is illegal, as a sixteen year old can’t work a twelve hour shift, as it is much too long, and can also not work in the early mornings (after 11pm, and before 7am). To make matters worse, he only got paid €50, for all of this hard work. This meant that he was being seriously underpaid. Unfortunately, there were many more cases like this.

Many teenagers accept wages that are below the legal amount, as they are afraid of sounding cheeky, and losing their jobs. Maria encouraged us all to always speak to our employers, if we have an issue such as this.

This talk was very insightful, and taught us all so much about our rights in the working world.

By Claire McGill

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