Agency Workers – Did You Know?

Some employers will be thinking about how to meet their additional staffing needs in these uncertain times, one of the routes that may be under consideration is using temporary agency workers provided by a temporary work agency. If this arrangement is managed appropriately the temporary agency worker will not usually be an employee of the organisation using their services (the hirer), but there are still some things to watch out for if using this route.

For example, did you know:

  • The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (‘the AWR’) usually give temporary agency workers the right to access the hirer’s collective facilities and amenities, such as toilets, and the right to be informed of relevant vacant posts with the hirer. These rights apply from day one and are the responsibility of the hirer.
  • After completion of a 12-week qualifying period, temporary agency workers are entitled to the same “basic working and employment conditions” that they would have been entitled to had they been recruited directly by the hirer. Basic working and employment conditions include pay (although there are some aspects of pay that are specifically excluded such as occupational sick pay), rest breaks and annual leave. Liability for breach of these “week 12” rights falls on either the hirer or the temporary work agency to the extent that they are responsible. With this in mind, where needed, it’s important for hirers to be aware of what the “ basic work and employment conditions” are for roles in their organisation and to communicate clearly with the temporary work agency
  • Whilst an agency worker is not usually an employee of the hirer, it is still important to ensure that they are treated appropriately and with dignity and respect. This is because there can be situations where an agency worker can bring a discrimination claim against a hirer.

For organisations who would prefer to employ an employee but are concerned about doing so on a permanent contract of employment or on fixed hours due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there are alternative options you may wish to consider. These include using zero hours contracts which can offer greater flexibility or using fixed term/temporary employment contracts if it’s anticipated an employee will only be needed for a short time. If you are considering employing a new employee and you would like advice on your situation, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd for advice.

If you have an employment law matter you would like assistance with Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd are here to help.




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