Agency Worker Regulations Now in Force

This month (1 October 2011) saw the coming into force of the much talked about Agency Worker Regulations 2010. These Regulations will affect employment businesses and agencies, hirers and agency workers.

The Regulations are designed to ensure that agency workers, assigned to work for a hirer, are treated more equally with the hirers’ direct employees than they previously were. Agency workers will now acquire certain rights on the first day of an assignment with a hirer. These are known as “Day 1 rights” and they give agency workers rights of access to collective facilities and amenities, such as canteen and child care facilities, transport services and information regarding employment vacancies with the hirer.

Other rights to equal treatment are acquired by agency workers after a 12 week qualifying period. On completion of the qualifying period, the agency worker will be entitled to be treated equally with comparable permanent employees of the hirer, in certain specific areas. These include pay, duration of working time, night work, rest periods, rest breaks and annual leave.

The Regulations do not provide for complete equality between a hirer’s permanent employees and agency workers and they do not convert agency workers into employees. Thus, agency workers will not have the benefit of rights such as entitlement to claim unfair dismissal or parental leave rights.

We have been busy working with employment businesses and agencies, and hirers over the last few months, preparing for the coming into effect of these Regulations. Contracts with agency workers and with hirers have been redrafted and plans put in place to reduce the impact of the Regulations on both hirers and agencies. Now is the time to monitor the new arrangements and to be vigilant in ensuring the Regulations are complied with.

If you would like any further information or legal advice in relation to anything discussed in this article please contact Kim Hurley in our Civil Litigation department on (01945) 586612 or email