Agency Workers Regulations 2010
The Regulations came into force on 1 October 2011 and
introduce new rights for agency workers, including the right to
`equal treatment` in respect of certain "basic working conditions"
as permanent staff after a 12 week qualifying period.
The Regulations cover the following:-
Annual leave, basic pay, rest breaks, bonuses linked to
performance and, from day one, access to job vacancies and communal
facilities e.g. canteen, childcare facilities and transport
services to include a bus between sites.
The Regulations do not apply to the genuinely self-employed,
bonus payments for loyalty or long service, occupational pensions
or sick pay, or financial participation schemes.
If the worker`s role changes and if the worker moves to a
genuinely different role, one where all or most of the duties are
substantively different, the right to equal treatment will only
begin once he has had twelve weeks in the new
In general, a break between assignments will reset the clock
to day one on the proviso that the break is for at least six weeks.
Some absences, for example sick leave, jury service and annual
holiday will also pause the clock.
The most frequently asked question is whether an employer
can limit the use of agency workers to assignments of less than
twelve weeks to avoid the impact of the Regulations. In general
terms, the answer is yes, however, the hirer will need to avoid a
structure or series of assignments which could be deemed to be an
attempt to avoid the impact of the Regulations.
The anti-avoidance Regulations will bite where the agency
- completed two or more assignments with the
- completed one or more assignments with the hirer and one
or more earlier assignments with hirers connected to that hirer;
- worked in more than two roles during an assignment and had
at least two previous changes of role
The length of an assignment and the gap between them will be
a deciding factor.
Penalties are potentially severe with employers liable for a
penalty of up to £5,000 per agency worker and an additional penalty
of up to £5,000 so employers will need to monitor the use of agency
workers and keep detailed records.
Posted on: 20/10/2011
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.
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