The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 came into effect on 1 October 2011 and agency workers have gained rights to a form of equal treatment. After a qualifying period their basic terms and conditions of employment must be no less favourable than the terms they would have been entitled to, had they been hired directly by Brookes.
Agency worker regulations 2010
Day 1 rights for all workers
From day 1 of the assignment, agency workers will be entitled to be given access to ‘collective facilities and amenities’. This includes, but is not limited, to canteen or other similar facilities, child care facilities and transport services.
Also from day 1 of the assignment, agency workers will be entitled to be informed of any relevant vacant positions with Brookes so that the agency worker has the opportunity to find permanent employment with Brookes.
Both of these points should form part of any induction you provide to your agency worker. Compliance with these two day 1 rights falls solely with Brookes so as line manager/client you must cover these points with your agency worker. This may mean directing them to the canteen, your own kitchen facilities or vending machines, staff common rooms and informing them of the bus service. This will also mean showing them where to find our vacancies page on the Brookes website.
12 week qualifying period
Should there be a need for an agency temp to be at Brookes on the same assignment for 12 weeks or more then there are further entitlements to be provided. Once the qualifying period has been reached the agency worker will be entitled to have the same basic terms and conditions of employment as if they had been directly hired by Brookes. These terms include:
- key elements of pay
- duration of working time
- rest breaks
- annual leave.
In addition, pregnant agency workers who have completed 12 weeks will be entitled to paid time off for antenatal appointments.
Please note that other benefits such as occupational sick pay, maternity/adoption pay, paternity pay and access to our occupational pension schemes are not included.
In practise we should already be paying agency workers that same rates as other Brookes employees because all posts are graded using our agreed job evaluation system, even temporary and casual posts. When requesting temps from the agency we should already be sending a graded job description for them to use to source a suitable candidate.
We should not be asking agency workers to work longer hours than others and we should be allowing agency worker the same entitlement to rest/meal breaks as Brookes employees.
The effect of these Regulations is still not entirely clear and will remain so until case law begins to interpret them. This is also because even at this stage the coalition government is considering making revisions. However, until advised otherwise, managers should proceed on the basis of this advice.
The qualifying period commenced on 1 October 2011 even if the agency temp was already working here so those who are still here after 26 December 2011 have qualified for equal treatment.
If this situation is a reality for you and your department/area then please discuss this with your link HR Manager at your earliest convenience. If you find that you are employing agency temps to cover long term vacancies, likely to last 12 weeks or more than please contact your link HR Manager. There may be other more suitable ways of filing your vacancy such as variable hours contracts.