AGENCY WORKERS REGULATIONS 2011
The Agency Workers Regulations came into force on 1 October 2011. The effect is that agency workers are now entitled to various new employment rights and information on these rights. Agency workers are now entitled to the same basic employment and working condition as if they had been recruited directly.
What are the new rules & employment rights for agency workers
Under the new rules agency workers are now entitled to use workplace facilities and get information on job opportunities from the first day of their assignment.
The new rules provide that after 12 weeks in the same job with the same employer, agency workers are entitled to equal treatment in relation to:
- night work
- rest periods/breaks
- duration of working time
The new rules do not say that the agency worker becomes a permanent employee of the hirer after 12 weeks.
Agency workers also now have the right to ask for written information from their agency if they are deprived from the statutory rights after the 12 week of qualifying period e.g. not receiving equal treatment on pay, holidays, etc.
If the agency does not respond within thirty days, agency workers can ask for the same information from their employer who has 28 days to reply.
The agency must provide the following information with reference to:
- rate of pay, number of weeks annual leave
- any appropriate information which was measured when determining these conditions, for example if there a pay scale which sets the rate of pay
- the terms and conditions of a relevant comparable employee (if relevant) and any difference in treatment, e.g. a lower rate of pay because you do not have the same qualifications, skills or experience/expertise.
The law provides agency workers with a remedy to file a claim with the Employment Tribunal if the agency (including an umbrella company or other body involved in supplying you) and an agency workers hirer:
- do not give the worker equal treatment after 12 weeks
- deny the worker access to facilities or information on vacancies from day one.
Claims must be filed within three months of the actual breach and, if successful, the worker will be compensated for any loss attributable to the breach including:
- expenses reasonably incurred
- loss of earnings
- an appropriate level of compensation if the worker has been denied access to a facility.