Agency Workers Regulations came into force on 1st October 2011, providing agency workers with the same basic working conditions as that of an employee in a workplace, provided they have completed an official period of 12 weeks in the job. However, the changes to these regulations are expected on 6th April 2020, after which all agency workers are entitled to equal pay of 12 weeks whether or not they are paid between the assignments. This means that all agency workers can access your facilities and are able to view information on your job right from day one.
What is an agency worker?
- An agency worker can be an individual supplied by a temporary agency. Temporary workers must have a contract to carry out the work provided by their hirer under their supervision and control.
- An agency worker can also be a worker who supplies their service through an umbrella company. Here, the workers will have a contract with the umbrella company and not directly with the company
These rules will not apply to self-employed individuals.
What is Agency Workers Regulation (AWR)?
Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) came in 2011 to protect the temporary workers hired through agency or an umbrella company. Temporary workers and contractors working through their own limited company are not affected by AWR. This legislation ensures that a worker who is working after 12 weeks in the same job role, will enjoy the same working rights as that of a permanent employee in the job. This means even temporary workers will have the benefits of that of a permanent employee if he works more than 12 weeks in the same job role.
From day 1, agency workers are to be treated no less than an employee when it comes to facilities and amenities provided by the hirer such as canteen, transport services, toilets, car parking, foods and drinks machine and information about the opportunity to apply for vacancies in the workplace.
After completing 12 weeks in the same role, workers are entitled for same rights of employment as they have been recruited directly by the hirer such as rest breaks, annual leave, holiday leave and pregnancy rights
Pregnant women are entitled to be paid time off for antenatal appointments after completing 12 weeks in the same job role. If your agency offers you a permanent contract and pays you between the assignments and you agree to it, then you will not be entitled to equal treatment to pay.
Following are excluded from AWR
- Sick Pay
- Maternity Pay
- Redundancy payments
- Loyalty bonuses
- Travel expenses
Workers those are supplied by temporary agencies or an umbrella companies are affected by AWR while contractors working through their own limited companies are unaffected by AWR.
Pros and Cons Of The Agency Workers Regulations
Once you have successfully completed 12 weeks you are entitled to learn about the terms and working conditions. Your agency will inform you about the same, within 28 days. If they fail to respond, you can reach your employer who is expected to reply within 28 days about the same. If, even after 28 days no information is provided, you have the liberty to take both parties to an industry tribunal. A Minimum pay of two weeks is awarded by the tribunal in case both parties fail to provide the necessary information.
Advantages of working as Agency Worker
- Get to work at different places
- Working on different assignments
- Gaining knowledge and learning new skills
- Flexible work timings
- Possibility of getting a permanent job
Disadvantages of working as an agency worker
- Variations in the working hours and pay
- No or little intimation of the assignment status
- Periods of little or no work
- No Obligation of the agency to offer you work
New Legislation allows payments between the assignments and makes minor changes to the regulations. All agency workers are now entitled for equal pay after 12 weeks. Workers are also entitled to various facilities and amenities available at the workplace.