Agency Worker Regulations
The Coalition Government has confirmed that although they had earmarked the Agency Workers Regulations for review, they will now leave them as made by the previous Government and they will take effect on 1 October 2011.
The regulations implement European legislation which gives temporary agency workers equal treatment in comparison to permanent workers, particularly with regard to basic working conditions such as:
- Basic salary
- Contractual leave that exceeds statutory leave
- Shift allowances
- Overtime rates
- Unsociable hours premium
- Rest breaks
European legislation indicated that the default position should mean that this principle applies from day one of the agency worker’s assignment. However, member states were given the ability to make alterations to this at national level and it has been agreed between the CBI and the TUC that the right to equal treatment will not apply until the worker has satisfied a twelve week qualifying period in any given job.
The Agency worker will also have the right, during an assignment to be advised of any vacant positions with the employer. This is of course the same right as current employees have to know about internal vacancies. It is important to note here, that this is an automatic right from the first day of work and no qualifying period exists.
The Regulations do not make any provision as to employment status and consequently agency workers will not have the right to claim unfair dismissal, redundancy pay, minimum notice or claim occupational pension contributions.
Where agency workers are used by companies generally for more than a twelve week period, they should review how this will affect their organisation.