Agency Workers Regulations

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 will came into force on 1 October 2011 and give agency workers the right to Equal Treatment including the same pay and other working conditions enjoyed by the Hirer’s own workers, (this does not alter the agency worker’s employment status) after a Qualifying Period of 12 weeks with the exception of Day One Rights.

Who is an Agency Worker?
The Regulations define an Agency Worker as an individual; who is supplied by a temporary work agency to work temporarily under the supervision and direction of a Hirer; and who has a Contract For Services under which they provide their service personally for the agency.

When does an Agency Worker qualify for Equal Treatment?
Except for Day One Rights (detailed as over) the Agency Worker will be entitled to Equal Treatment once they have completed the Qualifying Period; worked for 12 calendar weeks in the same role for the same Hirer (or part of the Hirer’s group of companies). This is irrespective of the working pattern (e.g. full/part time or consecutive weeks). It is also irrespective of which or how many agencies supplied the Agency Worker to do the same role at the hirer.
A new Qualifying Period will begin only if a new assignment is substantively different or if there is a break of more than six weeks between assignments in the same role. The Qualifying Period will be paused if there is a break of six weeks or less; or if the Agency Worker takes certified sick leave for no more than 28 weeks; or statutory maternity, adoption or paternity leave; or time off for public duties (e.g. jury service).

What does Equal Treatment mean?
Agency Workers will be entitled to, after the Qualifying Period the same basic working and employment conditions relating to pay (including holiday pay, overtime, shift allowances, unsociable hours premia, vouchers with fixed value, commission and bonuses directly related to the quantity and quality of work), duration of working time, night work, rest periods, rest breaks and annual leave.
Agency Workers will not be entitled to benefits such as occupational sick pay, company pension schemes, share option schemes, health/life insurance, financial participation schemes and bonus schemes based on company performance.

Pregnant Agency Workers
Pregnant Agency Workers will be entitled to paid time off to attend medical appointments and ante-natal classes once they have achieved the qualifying period.

Establishing Equal Treatment:
Equal Treatment will be established in respect of the terms and conditions that apply to a comparable worker, or a comparable employee engaged in the same role or broadly similar work. If using the latter, pay scales and benefits outlined in company handbooks or any collective agreements must be taken into account.

Day One Rights:
Agency Workers have two entitlements from their first day of an assignment;

  • Hirers must inform Agency Workers of existing vacancies within their organisation, they must ensure they have the same access to information about vacancies as their own workers.
  • Agency Workers are entitled to access collective on-site facilities such as childcare, canteen, parking and the provision of transport. However, access to facilities can be refused if there are objective grounds for doing so, such as waiting lists. The Agency Worker is not automatically entitled to a place but can be subject to the same criteria to access the facility as someone directly recruited by the Hirer. Amenities such as subsidised gym membership are out of scope as they are considered a reflection of the long term relationship between the Hirer and the employee.

How this will affect the process of hiring an Agency Worker?
WP Recruitment & HR Ltd will attempt to minimise the impact of the implementation of the Regulations where ever possible. As we already attempt to base our charge rates on the equivalent permanent comparable salary the amounts charged should not differ significantly. However, to ensure that we are compliant with the Regulations we will now be requesting comprehensive details when taking bookings for assignments. This will include information on the duration of the assignment, comparable pay rates, working hours, annual leave and collective facilities. For long term assignments of 12 calendar weeks or more an Information Request Form will be required to be completed.

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