Equality for agency workers arrives on October 1

Employers, not to mention recruitment agencies, will have to pay close attention to the new regulations affecting agency workers. After October 1st, following an initial qualifying period [see below], agency workers become entitled to similar rights and working conditions enjoyed by full-time permanent workers – including the right to receive the same pay as full timers doing the same or a similar job.

The initial qualification period for the new rights is 12 weeks – however if any employer wants to avoid the risk of and handing over full timer’s rights to any agency worker, they will need to terminate the employee contract of the agency work out within a 12 week- and will then need to make sure that there is at least a 6 weeks gap before taking on the same agency worker. The relations also include wide-ranging anti-avoidance provisions – e.g., you can’t avoid handing over equal rights to agency workers simply by moving them to a different department.

Agency workers are also entitled to other rights including car parking, canteen and childcare arrangements from the very 1st day they work for an employer – although, of course, they will also be subject to any waiting lists for such rights which also apply to permanent staff.

In the event that any temporary employee is likely to benefit from these regulations the recruitment agency has to ask the employer to provide basic information about working conditions and wages etc.

Any employment or recruitment agency in breach of the regulations is at risk of an employment tribunal claim for compensation being made by the disgruntled temp.

Our employment lawyers‘ advice for employers ? Make sure your HR department, or whoever is responsible for hiring temps, is aware of the regulations, which adds yet more red tape to the ever growing employment law burden on UK employers.