The aim is to provide agency workers with the same basic employment and working conditions as permanent members of staff.
We have now passed the twelve week period since the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) were introduced and it will be interesting to see how the Tribunals and Courts interpret the wording of the Regulations.
What does this mean?
From day one of their assignment, agency workers will have access rights to collective facilities and information about vacancies. The twelve week period is important to those agency workers that have been in the same role for this period of time, meaning that they will qualify for equal rights in respect of pay, working time, night work, rest periods, rest breaks and annual leave.
What is equal pay?
Equal pay includes basic pay, overtime pay, bonuses which are based in full or in part upon an individual’s performance, holiday pay and any vouchers and stamps which have a cash value and which do not form part of a salary sacrifice scheme. Payments do not include occupational sick pay, maternity pay, pension contributions, paternity or adoption leave, redundancy pay, expenses, advances, loans and health and life insurance.
The AWR do not apply to agency workers who are self-employed. Agencies can enter into a contract of employment with their workers. If that employment contract entitles the worker to minimum pay between assignments, with a clause that explains the worker is not entitled to any rights conferred by Regulation 5 of the AWR, then the equal pay provisions do not apply. Employers may wish to ask for a copy of the contract between the agency and the worker to check it complies with the provisions. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss this further.
Under the AWR the hirer will be liable for any failure to provide the agency worker with access to its collective facilities and amenities or to information about job vacancies. Both agencies and hirers can be liable for a breach of the right to equal treatment after twelve weeks. You may also wish to check for indemnities in the terms of business between you and the agency.
The Government has recently announced that it will review the AWR in 18 months time.