New rules relating to the employment of agency workers will come into force on the 1st October, however surveys of employers have suggested their is limited understanding of the new regulations or their potential impact.
New rules relating to the employment of agency workers will come into force on the 1st October. The European legislation gives agency and temporary workers rights more closely aligned with those enjoyed by permanent, directly employed staff. The provisions of the act, which governs pay and other benefits, have proven controversial. There are concerns over the cost of the new legislation to business, and fears that this cost may result in agency workers losing their jobs as firms seek to avoid the increased burden. The legislation is expected to cost employers £1.8bn a year in extra pay and benefits expenses.
There is also concern that many employers are unaware of the new legislation, or do not fully understand their new responsibilities. A survey by workplace information provider, Croner, confirms that too few employers seem to be aware of the implications of the Agency Workers Regulations .
The information below outlines the key changes and new responsibilities for employers from 01/10/11.
New entitlements for agency workers from 1 October 2011
Day 1 rights for all agency workers:
If you hire agency workers, you must ensure that they can access your facilities (such as canteen, childcare facilities, etc) and can access information on your job vacancies from the first day of their assignment.
After 12 weeks in the same job:
The equal treatment entitlements relate to pay and other basic working conditions (annual leave, rest breaks etc) and come into effect after an agency worker completes a 12 week qualifying period in the same job with the same hirer. After completing the qualifying period, pregnant agency workers will now be allowed to take paid time off for ante-natal appointments during an assignment.
It is not retrospective and for those agency workers already on assignment, the 12 week qualifying period will start from 1 October 2011.
What this means for you:
If you are a hirer of agency workers:
If you are an employer and hire temporary agency workers through a temporary work agency, you should provide your agency with up to date information on your terms and conditions so that they can ensure that an agency worker receives the correct equal treatment, as if they had been recruited directly, after 12 weeks in the same job. You are responsible for ensuring that all agency workers can access your facilities and are able to view information on your job vacancies from the first day of their assignment with you.
If you are a temporary work agency:
If you are involved in the supply of temporary agency workers, you need to ask the hirer for information about pay and basic working conditions (when it is clear that the agency worker will be in the same job with the same hirer for more than 12 weeks) so that they are treated as if they had been directly recruited to the job.
For further guidance on the employment of agency workers and AWR legislation:
Samuel Lewis, Policy Correspondent at Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce