Agency Workers – Rights Explained

Christopher Brown Solicitor with AMD solicitors explains the rights of Agency Workers:

Given the current economic climate in which many redundancies and cut backs have been made, it will be no surprise that many people are currently employed, or seeking employment, as Agency Workers. However, after the introduction of the new Agency Workers’ Regulations that were implemented in October 2011, such workers will now enjoy much greater rights than they would have done previously.

The new Regulations, which aim to ensure the protection of temporary workers by applying the principle of equal treatment, apply to Agency Workers who are supplied by a temporary work Agency to work for and under the supervision and direction of a hirer, and have either an employment contract with the Agency or another contract to “perform work or services personally”.

From day one of assignment, Agency Workers must now be treated no less favourably than comparable workers on permanent contracts regarding the use of facilities such as the canteen, transport services or any child minding services that are available, unless different treatment can be objectively justified.

Also, after twelve continuous weeks in the same role, Agency Workers are now entitled to the same basic and employment conditions they would have had if they’d been appointed directly. This provision affects issues such as pay, (including commissions, bonuses), working time and duration and annual leave, but excludes sick pay, pensions and maternity/paternity leave.

If an Agency Worker is not receiving these rights then they are entitled to ask for written information from their Agency, to include details of the terms and conditions of a relevant comparable employee. If this is not provided, or if the subsequent response is unsatisfactory, the Agency Worker may be entitled to bring a claim at an Employment Tribunal within three months of the actual breach. If the claim is successful, they will then be compensated for any loss attributable to the breach including:
• expenses reasonably incurred
• loss of earnings
• an appropriate level of compensation if you have been denied access to a facility
As a result, it is well worth all Agency Workers reviewing their terms of employment and seeking legal advice in the event that they believe they are being treated less favourably than their colleagues who have been recruited directly.
For employers, they may wish to consider the length of time they will employ Agency Workers, and particularly whether to keep them on over the twelve week period following which they will qualify for additional benefits and rights outlined above.

For advice with regard to employment law issues please contact us by telephoning 0117 923 5562 or email

Copyright AMD Solicitors

This article is provided for general information purposes only and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at the date of uploading. This article should not be relied upon as legal advice pertaining to any specific factual situation. Legal decisions should be made only after proper consultation with a legal professional of your choosing.

Telephone icon Request a call back