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AGENCY WORKERS REGULATIONS

The legislation came into force on 1 October 2011, giving agency workers the entitlement to the same basic employment and working conditions as if they had been recruited directly, if and when they complete a qualifying period of 12 weeks in the same job.

It is not retrospective and for those agency workers already on assignment, the 12 week qualifying period started from 1 October 2011.

From the 1 October 2011, agency workers are also entitled to access to facilities and information on job vacancies from Day 1 of their assignment

New entitlements

Day 1 rights for all agency workers: If you hire agency workers, you must ensure that they have they can access your facilities (such as canteen, childcare facilities, etc) and can access information on your job vacancies from the first day of their assignment.

After 12 weeks in the same job: The equal treatment entitlements relate to pay and other basic working conditions (annual leave, rest breaks etc) and come into effect after an agency worker completes a 12 week qualifying period in the same job with the same hirer. After completing the qualifying period, pregnant agency workers will now be allowed to take paid time off for ante-natal appointments during an assignment.

It is not retrospective and for those agency workers already on assignment, the 12 week qualifying period will start from 1 October 2011.

What this means for you

If you are a hirer of agency workers: If you are an employer and hire temporary agency workers through a temporary work agency, you should provide your agency with up to date information on your terms and conditions so that they can ensure that an agency worker receives the correct equal treatment, as if they had been recruited directly, after 12 weeks in the same job. You are responsible for ensuring that all agency workers can access your facilities and are able to view information on your job vacancies from the first day of their assignment with you.

If you are a ‘temp’ agency worker: From 1 October 2011, after you have worked in the same job for 12 weeks, you will qualify for equal treatment in respect of pay and basic working conditions. You can accumulate these weeks even if you only work a few hours a week. Your temporary work agency is likely to ask for details of your work history to help establish when you are entitled to equal treatment (separate guidance is available for agency workers on direct.gov website).

If you are a temporary work agency: If you are involved in the supply of temporary agency workers, you need to ask the hirer for information about pay and basic working conditions (when it is clear that the agency worker will be in the same job with the same hirer for more than 12 weeks) so that they are treated as if they had been directly recruited to the job.


The Agency Workers Regulations apply to:

  • individuals who work as temporary agency workers;
  • individuals or companies (private, public and third sector eg charities, social enterprises) involved in the supply of temporary agency workers, either directly or indirectly, to work temporarily for and under the direction and supervision of a hirer;
  • and hirers (private, public and third sector)

Definition of who is covered by the Regulations

  • Temporary Work Agency (TWA)
  • Agency worker
  • Hirer

Those who are likely to be outside the scope of the Regulations include;

  • individuals who find work through a temporary work agency but are in business on their own account (where they have a business to business relationship with the hirer who is a client or customer)
  • individuals working on Managed Service Contracts where the worker does not work under the direction and supervision of the host organisation
  • individuals working for in-house temporary staffing banks where a company employs its temporary workers directly (and they only work for that same business or service)
  • individuals who find direct employment with an employer through an “employment agency”
  • individuals on secondment or loan from one organisation to another – this is usually where the main activity of the organisation seconding the individual is not the supply of individuals to work temporarily under the supervision and direction of another party

These Regulations apply to Great Britain. Northern Ireland has separate Regulations in line with their national law.

If there is a dispute about whether someone is within the scope of the Regulations, an Employment Tribunal will consider if the description of the arrangements reflects the reality of the relationship.

For more information see the BIS (Department for Business Innovation & Skills)
AGENCY WORKERS REGULATIONS - Guidance document

 


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