The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 came into force on 1 October 2011.
The aim is to give agency workers an entitlement to a limited form of equal treatment with permanent workers.
Agency workers should be placed in the same position (in terms of basic working conditions) as equivalent permanent staff, but this is subject to a qualifying period of twelve weeks.
To complete the qualifying period, the agency worker must work in the same role with the same hirer for twelve continuous calendar weeks, during one or more assignments. Both agencies and hirers need to be aware of the Regulations as they could both potentially be liable for any failure to recognise such rights.
The rights of agency workers are often far from clear because the rights they possess are based upon different legal tests of employment status.
Rights will depend upon whether the agency worker is an “employee” (as defined by the Employment Rights Act 1996), a “worker”, “in employment” (within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010) or “an employed earner” (for the purposes of relevant social security legislation).
For the most up to date and practical advice in this complex area of the law, please contact our specialist Employment Team of solicitors who are able to advise you further.