The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 is due to come into force on 1 October 2011. The Regulations have been introduced to ensure fair treatment of agency and temporary workers providing them with similar employment rights as permanent workers.
The Regulations set out criteria used to determine if the agency and temporary worker falls within the scope of the Regulations.
Characteristics of an Agency Worker (AW):
- The AW works for a variety of hirers on different assignments but is paid by the The Worker Agency (TWA) who deducts tax and NICs (National Insurance contributions);
- AW has a contract with the TWA but works under the direction and supervision of the hirer;
- Time sheets are given to the TWA who pays the AW for the hours worked;
- If an AW is on sick leave, the TWA pays the Statutory Sick Pay;
- The TWA pays holiday pay when statutory annual leave is taken.
Workers outside the scope of the Regulations:
- The “employment agency” introduces an individual to an employer for a directly employed role paid by the employer;
- The contract of employment is agreed between the worker and employer and is for a casual or fixed period;
- There is no ongoing contractual relationship between the employment agency and the worker.
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 weeks qualifying period in the same job with the same hirer.
The equal treatment entitlements include the same basic rights regarding:
- Duration of work
- Night work
- Rest breaks
- Annual leave
Thus, the changes introduced by the Agency Workers Regulations mean that agency workers after a 12 week qualifying period in the same job role with the same hirer will enjoy the same rights in relation to basic terms and conditions as permanent 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 the 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 from the first day of their assignment with you.
If you are a ‘temp’ agency worker, from 1 October 2011 after you have been working 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.
If you are a temporary work agency and 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.