10 August 2011

Daniel Barnett’s Employment Law Bulletin reports that there have been some amendments to the Agency Workers Regulations due to come into force on 1 October 2011.

The Regulations provide that agency workers (ie temps) will have the same rights to pay, benefits, rest periods and holidays as someone recruited directly by the hirer (including the hirer's own directly recruited temp workers and employees).

There is a 12 week qualifying period, so genuine short-term agency temps will not qualify for this right. The 12 weeks do not have to be continuous; there can be breaks between assignments and absences on grounds of eg sickness or jury service.

The corrections are:-

  • the definition of 'agency worker' in regulation 3 is changed from requiring the agency worker to have a contract with the agency which is either an employment contract or "any other contract to perform work and services personally for the agency" to "any other contract with the agency to perform work or services personally". The change clarifies that the worker does not need to be working for the agency itself;
  • the so-called 'Swedish Derogation' is clarified by removing another minor drafting error; and,
  • tweaking the statutory defence in regulation 14, enabling a work agency to avoid liability for breach of the Regulations by a hirer when the agency takes reasonable steps to obtain information about the hirer's terms and conditions.