After many years of campaigning by trade unions, the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 are due to come into force on 1 October 2011 (and are not retrospective).
In general terms, agency workers will qualify for treatment equal to directly employed workers ? that is equality in terms of basic employment conditions; after 12 weeks in the same role with the same hirer regardless of whether they have been supplied by more than one agency for part of that period of time. ? Basic working and employment conditions relate to:
- the duration of working time
- night work
- rest periods and rest breaks
- annual leave
- pay (including overtime),with some limited exceptions
What is an ?Agency Worker??
- Is supplied by an agency to work temporarily for and under the supervision and direction of the hirer
- Has a contract with the agency that is either a contract of employment or any other contract with the agency to? perform work or services personally
- Is not in business on his own account
12-week Qualifying Period
- An agency worker must work in the same role with the same hirer for 12 continuous calendar weeks
- The qualifying period will be broken if there is a substantive change to a job role within the same hirer
- Most absences pause the clock for service accrual purposes, but pregnancy and maternity, paternity or adoption related absences keep the clock ticking
Enforcement and Liability
Agency workers can bring claims in employment tribunals and can be compensated for any loss of earnings related to their entitlements under the regulations. There is no maximum award but there is a minimum award of two weeks? pay regardless of any loss suffered (unless the agency worker acted unreasonably).
Organisations who employ temporary agency workers should take steps now to assess risk, make modifications to existing practices and otherwise ensure compliance in time before the implementation date.
If you feel that the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations will impact upon your business, please get in touch with our employment team?for advice specific to your circumstances.