Work or not? – rules for underage workers

Subject: Social studies
Summary: Students learn about the legal regulations for underage workers. Discuss a specific case to find out how the law is implemented in real life.
Activity length: Duration is 90 minutes (2x45 minutes).
  • Students find info about legislation concerning working.
  • Students discuss an easily relatable case to understand the problem.

Teacher needs to prepare handouts about the description about the case.

Teacher prepares links for suitable legislation and marks most important sections from the relevant laws.


Part 1: Students read the case and work in pairs to discuss and find answers to the proposed questions. A discussion follows.

Part 2: Students start to check their answers using the legislation. Teacher may guide their search by writing down most important sections from relevant laws so the process takes less time and less time is spent on reading irrelevant information.

Part 3: Whole class discussion follows where the teacher guides the discussion so that the class reaches a right call answering all of the proposed questions.


Teacher can grade the answers groups give after part 2.

Additional notes:


Jackob (16 years old) finishes the mandatory education level (i.e. 9th grade in Estonia) this summer. Jackob’s friend from a gym offers him a job for the summer to be a bouncer in a busy night club. As Jackob looks older for his age and has worked out a lot he is physically suitable for the job. Jackob is confident, accepts the offer and signs a contract the same day. The contract states that Jackob will earn 1000€ for a full time (40hrs per week) work at the nightclub.

When the summer ends Jackob continues his studies in a high school but would also like to keep the job at the nightclub and is offered a part time contract where Jackob works from Thursdays to Sundays.

Is Jackob’s contract legal?

What problems do you see with Jackob’s summer job?

Is it legal for Jackob to continue working part time while studying in high school?