Temporary Agency Workers: The New Law


Temporary Agency Workers Regulations 2011

The Temporary Agency Workers Regulations 2011 (“the Regulations”) come into force on 1st October 2011. The primary aim of the Regulations is to provide for equal treatment of temporary agency workers compared with directly engaged workers. The majority of the protection takes effect once the agency worker has been placed with the same hirer in the same job for 12 calendar weeks (or part week).

From the first day of their engagement, all agency workers must be given equal access to certain facilities such as a canteens, food and drink machines, rest rooms, parking, crèches, etc.

After the agency worker has 12 calendar weeks service with the hirer (in the same job) they must be given identical terms and conditions as permanent/direct hires in relation to the following:

  • basic pay;
  • overtime payments and shift allowances;
  • performance related bonuses and commission;
  • holiday pay; and
  • vouchers or other coupons with a monetary value.

The Regulations also create enhanced rights for pregnant agency workers and new mothers and agency workers will have to be taken into account in certain collective situations. Details of these changes are beyond the scope of this update but please contact us (see below) if you would like more information in this regard.

The Regulations will have a big impact upon the relationship between the hirer and the agency and, no doubt cost will be affected. However, the Regulations do not generate a relationship of employment between the worker and the hirer nor do they create the right not to be unfairly dismissed or receive a redundancy payment.

Gordon Dadds