The Agency Workers Regulations: Are you ready?

Posted: 25th August 2011

Rights for all agency workers

From 1 October all agency workers will be entitled to access certain facilities and information on job vacancies.

What does this mean?
Agency workers will be entitled to access collective facilities and amenities available to comparable workers and employees. This may include access to staff canteens, to childcare facilities, to transport services such as local pick up and drops offs and transport between sites (but not company car allowances or season ticket loans), to staff common rooms, prayer rooms and to 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 by either providing details direct to the agency worker, as part of an induction pack, or by providing details to the 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 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 will include entitlement to receive the same:

• pay (including the same basic pay, over time 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;
• 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 will start on that date.

Employers should be aware that the Regulations 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 ask themselves what basic employment and working conditions comparable workers and employees in their organisation receive so as to ensure that such conditions are provided to agency workers once they have completed the 12 week qualifying period.

Employers should also ensure that they provide the agencies they work with, with up to date information relating to 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. Such records 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 Regulations which can be accessed by following this link.