What do you need to know about agency workers?

If you employ workers from an agency, they are entitled to certain employment rights. Do you know if you are treating your agency workers correctly? What do you need to know about the employment rights of agency workers?

As an employer, you need to be aware of the Agency Worker Regulations. These regulations give agency workers the entitlement to the same or no less favourable treatment as comparable employees with respect to basic employment and working conditions, if and when they complete a qualifying period of 12 weeks in a particular job.

What are Agency Workers?

The regulations that cover agency workers apply to those workers supplied by a temporary work agency to an employer/hirer (ie your business). This includes most agency workers that people refer to as ‘temps’ and those supplied via intermediaries.

Agency workers, in these regulations, are not self-employed, individuals working through their own limited liability company, or individuals working on managed service contracts.

What rights do Agency Workers have when they start employment?

From their first day at work, an agency worker will be entitled to the same access to facilities such as staff canteens, childcare and transport as other employees, and to be informed about job vacancies. They are also entitled to certain employment rights such as national minimum wage.

After the 12-week qualifying period, an agency worker will be entitled to the same basic conditions of employment as if they had been directly employed by you. This includes bonuses, commissions and holiday pay, but does not include redundancy pay, contractual sick pay, and maternity, paternity or adoption pay. They are also entitled to working time rights, such as annual leave.

What other employment rights are Agency Workers entitled to?

  • rest breaks and limits on working time
  • the National Minimum Wage
  • no unlawful deductions from wages
  • discrimination rights under the Equality Act 2010
  • health and safety at work.

If you employ agency workers, or are thinking about employing agency workers and want to know more about the regulations, talk to us today.

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