employment law

The agency worker’s essential checklist

There are several regulations designed to protect Agency workers.

It’s important to know how you are protected to avoid potential employment problems further down the line.

First, ensure the employment agency or business finding you work is governed by the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003. These regulations make sure they meet certain minimum standards.

Below is a handy checklist of the rules and regulations you should be aware of as an agency worker.

If you’re concerned that your employer doesn’t satisfy some of these guidelines, you might need to seek advice from an employment lawyer. They will be able to help you.

Who is your employer?

Normally, the recruitment firm or employment business will be seen as your employer. However, sometimes the end user (i.e. the organisation you carry out work for) will be known as your employer. Your contract should reflect this.

What are you automatically entitled to?

You are entitled to a number of statutory protections, including:

• the national minimum wage;
• protection from unlawful deductions from wages;
• paid holidays;
• rest breaks and limits of working time;
• discrimination under the equality legislation;
• and protection under health and safety laws.

You may also be entitled to statutory sick pay, but will not qualify for paid maternity or paternity leave. Whilst you will not be entitled to statutory maternity pay, you may be entitled to maternity allowance or pay on maternity grounds.

Do you qualify for additional rights?

Since October 2011, some agency workers have extra rights under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010.

These include having the right to be treated no less favourably than comparable workers who are employed directly by the organisation. You should also be informed of any relevant permanent vacancies as they become available within the company.

If the regulations are relevant to you, after 12 weeks working in the same role you should have the same basic working and employment conditions as directly hired employees.

The length of time you have worked there is important

The length of time you have spent in the same post affect the rights you are entitled to. There are ‘day one rights’, then additional rights becoming available once you have been the same role for 12 weeks.

If your employer takes you on for a second or subsequent time in the same role, you may need to clarify what counts as ‘continuity of employment’.

Make sure your employer isn’t trying to avoid giving you extra rights and benefits which are due after the initial 12 week period.

Do you need legal help?

The details surrounding agency workers’ rights are very complex and there are too many detailed clauses to outline in this article.

If you are an agency worker, you might find it difficult to know if you’re being treated fairly and legally.

If you are concerned, you should get in touch with our employment lawyers, via Daniel Zakis on 0121 705 7571 or email him at danielzakis@wallacerobinson.co.uk.

Further reading:

Age Discrimination - an age old problem? (Employment Law)

What you need to know about Unfair Dismissal (Employment Law)

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.