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Agency Workers Regulations

What are the impending Agency Workers Regulations 2011?

From 1 October 2011 temporary agency workers will be given parity in terms of pay and employment conditions as they would have been entitled to had they been recruited by the hirer directly to do the same job.

The new regulations stem from European legislation. Whilst in other parts of the EU, this entitlement comes into effect from day one of an assignment, the UK has a derogation period of 12 weeks. This means the agency worker needs be engaged for 12 weeks of service with the same hirer, in the same role, in order to qualify.

However, from the first day of their assignment agency workers will be entitled to "Day One" rights, which take two forms:

  1. Hirers must inform agency workers of existing vacancies in their organisation. Hirers do not have to actively seek out each agency worker and tell them individually of the vacancies but they must ensure that they have the same access to information about vacancies as other workers.
  2. Agency workers will also be entitled to access collective on-site facilities such as creche and childcare facilities, canteen facilities, car parking and the provision of transport services. However, access to facilities can be refused if there are "objective grounds" for doing so.

Will agency workers be entitled to the same rights and benefits as employees?

The new regulations will not change the employment status of agency workers who will still not have the rights to claim unfair dismissal, redundancy pay or maternity leave.

Nor will agency workers be entitled to the same benefits such as occupational sick pay, company pension schemes, financial participation schemes and bonus payments based upon organisational or company performance.

These are considered a reflection of the long term relationship between an employee and an employer. Agency workers will therefore remain a flexible labour resource for hirers.

AWR Resources for Hirers: Downloads

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As well as our in-house knowledge of the regulations, we also have access to a number of specialist AWR legal advisors and would be glad to be of assistance.