Agency Workers Regulations

Posted: 3rd October 2011

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) came into force on 1 October 2011. All agency workers are now entitled to access certain workplace facilities and information on job vacancies from day one of their assignment.

What does this mean?
Agency workers are entitled to access collective facilities and amenities available to comparable workers and employees. This may include access to staff canteens, childcare facilities, transport services such as local pick up and drops offs and transport between sites (but not company car allowances or season ticket loans), staff common rooms, prayer rooms and car parking.
What should employers do?
Employers should ensure that their agency workers can access their facilities and are able to view information relating to job vacancies. Employers should also ensure that agency workers know how to access such facilities and information. This can be done either by providing details direct to the agency worker, as part of an induction pack, or by providing details to the employment agency to pass on to the agency worker as part of the information about the assignment.
Rights for agency workers who have completed a 12-week qualifying period
Once an agency worker has worked in the same job for the same hirer for a period of 12 calendar weeks, they will be entitled to the same basic employment and working conditions as if they had been recruited directly by the employer.
What does this mean?
This includes the right to receive the same:

- pay (including the same basic pay, overtime pay, shift allowances, paid annual leave, luncheon and childcare vouchers and bonuses and commission payments where such payments are directly attributable to the amount or quality of the work carried out by the worker);
- annual leave;
- rest breaks; and
- time off work for pregnant workers to attend ante-natal appointments (this must be paid).

In the case of agency workers who are already working for an employer as at 1 October, the 12-week qualifying period commences on that date.

Employers should be aware that the AWR contain anti-avoidance provisions which prevent a series of assignments being structured so as to prevent an agency worker from completing the qualifying period. Breaks between assignments will not, therefore, necessarily prevent agency workers from gaining the same basic employment and working conditions.
What should employers do?
Employers should assess what basic employment and working conditions comparable workers and employees in their organisation receive so as to ensure that the same conditions are provided to agency workers once they have completed the 12-week qualifying period.

Employers should also ensure that they provide the employment agencies they use with up-to-date information on the basic employment and working conditions provided to their own staff.

Employers should keep accurate and up-to-date records of all agency workers who carry out work for them. These should record the names of the workers, the dates and hours worked by them, the location of their work and their job role and responsibilities.

The Department for Business Innovations & Skills has published detailed guidance on the AWR which can be found here.