New Agency Worker Regulations


New Agency Worker Regulations


On 1st October 2011 the New Agency Worker Regulations come into force. They require that the basic working and employment conditions of agency workers are no less favourable than if the workers had been recruited directly by the hirer. The equal treatment entitlements relate to pay and other basic working conditions and come into effect after an agency worker completes a 12-week qualifying period in the same job with the same hirer, which starts on 1 October 2011 and is not retrospective for those agency workers already on assignment.

As an employer, if you hire temporary agency workers through a temporary work agency, you will need to provide the agency with up-to-date information on your terms and conditions so that it can ensure that the agency worker receives the correct equal treatment, after 12 weeks in the same job.

Equal treatment
Once the agency worker completes a 12-week qualifying period with you, in the same role, they will be entitled to have the same basic terms and conditions of employment as if they had been employed directly by the company. These are:

  • pay
  • duration of working time
  • night work
  • rest periods
  • rest breaks
  • annual leave

As the business owner you are responsible for ensuring that all agency workers can access your facilities and have access to your job vacancies from the first day they work at your setting.

Pregnant agency workers who have completed the 12- week qualifying period will be entitled to paid time off for antenatal appointments.

Calculating the qualifying period

The qualifying period is triggered by working in the same job with the same hirer for 12 calendar weeks. A calendar week is any period of seven days, starting with the first day of an assignment. Calendar weeks will be accrued regardless of how many hours the worker does on a weekly basis. So if an agency worker is on assignment for only a couple of hours a week, it still counts as a week and they will be entitled to equal treatment after 12 calendar weeks.

An agency worker can bring a claim for compensation to a tribunal if they are not receiving their entitlement under the regulations. The compensation would be equal to the losses they had suffered because they did not receive it. If the worker successfully brings a claim for failing to provide the benefits from day one, the liability will be solely with the hirer.

If you are going to hire agency workers, seek advice to ensure you follow the regulations.


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