As you’re probably aware, from 1st October agency workers will be entitled to new rights as the Agency Worker Regulations come in to force.
We put some questions to our legal advisor – employment lawyer Philip Landau – to help our readers who are contracting understand how it may affect them.
Here’s what Philip had to say…
What are the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR)?
The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 which come into effect on 1 October 2011, will give agency workers many of the same basic employment and working conditions as their comparable colleagues who work on a permanent basis in the same or a similar role.
So who is covered by the Regulations?
The Regulations will cover agency workers who are supplied to a hirer by an employment agency. These workers are often referred to as ‘temps’. Agency workers sourced through intermediaries will also fall under the Regulations.
When do the agency worker’s rights kick in?
On 1 October 2011, an agency worker will be entitled to only limited additional rights from day one of his employment and further enhanced rights upon completing a qualifying period of 12 weeks.
What are the new rights for the agency worker?
From the first day of employment, an agency worker will be entitled to:-
After a 12-week period, an agency worker can in addition expect to receive the same treatment as the hirer’s own employees in the following areas:-
The Regulations don’t cover pay that is linked to longer-term reward and retention such as redundancy pay, notice pay, company sick pay, company pensions, and enhanced maternity/paternity/adoption pay. The majority of benefits in kind are also excluded (such as travel expenses).
Does the qualifying period of 12 weeks have to be continuous?
No, if the break between or during an assignment is less than 6 weeks and you return to the same hirer to do the same or substantively similar role (even through a different agency), then it is likely that your qualifying period will be uninterrupted. This means that an agency worker could obtain the 12 week period through several assignments.
Can the continuous period count in other circumstances?
The Regulations state that holiday, absences for sickness for up to 28 weeks, jury service and industrial action will pause the continuous period and not reset it. Maternity, paternity, pregnancy and adoption leave will all enable the continuous period to continue as if the agency worker were still attending work.
Who has liability for breach of your rights?
For a breach of the ‘day one’ entitlements, liability lies solely with the hirer. In the event of a breach of a ’12-week’ right, legal liability can rest with either the hirer or the employment agency. The agency is responsible for setting the worker’s terms and conditions, so the liability will initially be placed with them.
However, the Regulations say that the hirers have to provide the employment agency with full details about the working and employment conditions given to their employees, so if the agency takes all reasonable steps to obtain the information from the hirer, but the hirer fails to disclose, then the hirer could be solely liable.
If there is a breach, when should you make a claim?
If an agency worker feels there has been a breach, he should make a claim within 3 months.
What will you receive if you win your claim?
An Employment Tribunal has the ability to make a financial award which is mainly based on the loss of the worker’s earnings – there is no upper limit.
Jobsite have partnered with specialist employment law solicitor Philip Landau, to bring you expert advice on your rights in all key areas of your working life. As a Jobsite user you are also entitled to receive a free initial consultation on all employment law issues from Philip.Philip can help with a number of legal problems; perhaps you feel your employer isn’t following their legal responsibilities, you believe you have been dismissed unfairly or you are unsure about clauses in your contract. Once he knows your specific situation he can let you know what your rights are and what action you can take.To get in touch with Philip, click the link below and he will contact you to discuss your situation in more detail.Philip Landau is a solicitor and partner, specialising in employment law, in the London legal firm Landau Zeffertt Weir.
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