The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) came in to effect on the 1st October 2011. The Regulations are designed to give temporary agency workers parity in pay and employment conditions as they would have received had they been recruited by the hirer to do the same job. This will impact all businesses that use agency workers. This legislation will entitle the majority of agency workers to the same treatment and pay as their directly employed equivalents after a twelve week qualifying period. Hirers as well as agencies will be responsible for ensuring equal treatment, therefore you need to take action now to prepare your business.

Whether you are a temporary worker currently working through an agency, or a client that uses temporary workers, click on one of the buttons below to find out more.

For Clients

The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) impacts all organisations that use agency workers. Hirers as well as agencies will be responsible for ensuring equal treatment, therefore you need to take action now to prepare your organisation

Client FAQs

Q: What do I need to ensure I have in place?
A: You need to have gather information on Day 1 rights and ensure that these are communicated to your temporary agency workers. You will also need to inform you agency of the relevant comparator rates that become effective after twelve weeks.

awr-imageQ: How do I identify who the comparator is?
A: To select a comparator for the “Day 1” rights, you need to consider the following:

The comparator should be doing the same or broadly similar work to the agency worker
They should be working at the same location as the agency worker or, if there is no such person, be in another location owned by the hirer.

To establish equal pay and other Week 12rights you need to consider how you would treat the agency worker had they been recruited directly. Organisations are advised to look to terms and conditions often set out in employment contracts, company handbooks, pay scales or similar.

Q. What if the agency worker is already paid more than the comparator?
A: This is fine as the agency worker’s rate is already compliant under the AWR. The Regulations don’t work both ways so if a temp is paid higher than the comparator their rate should not be brought down to the level of the permanent person.

Q: The comparators we’ve identified have a generous benefits package, including an annual bonus scheme, private health insurance, a pension scheme and corporate gym membership. Do I have to give agency workers all of the same benefits?
A: The rights acquired after week 12 of an assignment broadly include pay for work done, and therefore benefits in kind are excluded.

Q: My organisation operates formal pay scales. How do I know where on the scale to appoint an agency worker?
A: The key is always to adopt an as if hired directly approach: how do you decide where on the scale to appoint a permanent member of staff; are all new hires put on the bottom of a particular scale, or are each employee’s qualifications and experience taken into account? The agency worker should be appointed according to the same rules.

Q: What happens if we have a companywide pay increase?
A: Any agency worker will also be entitled to the increase, providing it is not linked to length of service. The organisation should update the agency on any such increases to ensure that the agency worker is receiving equal treatment throughout the course of their assignment.

Q: Do I need to pay a temporary agency worker for any additional duties that they are expected to do? Will this change after 12 weeks?
A: If the directly employed person is paid for additional duties then you would have to pay temporary workers too. For more information speak to your consultant.

Q: I am concerned about being liable for a claim as our organisation has no real tracking system for temporary workers.
A: Firmin Recruit will be tracking each agency worker’s length of assignment and recording any known absences that do not count towards the 12 week period. You may find that for many agency workers, their rate is already compliant under the AWR, in which case you do not need to worry about changing the rate at week 12.

For Candidates

Under the Agency Workers Regulations agency workers have two sets of entitlements: one, from the start of their assignment (referred to as Day 1 rights); and a secondly, after they have completed a qualifying period of 12 working weeks (referred to as Post 12 weeks).

Day 1:

From the 1st October 2011, in any temporary work assignment where you are working through an agency for an end hirer, you will be given the same access to facilities and internal vacancies as a directly employed member of staff doing the same or broadly similar job as you. These are usually on site facilities, these can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Access to internal vacancies
  • Creche
  • Prayer Room
  • Room
  • Car Parking
  • Canteen
  • Local pick-up/drop-off
  • Your line manager will be able to advise you exactly which facilities apply, as this will vary from business
  • to business.

Post 12 weeks:
After a 12 week period from the 1st October 2011 agency workers will be entitled to pay equal to a directly employed worker doing the same or broadly similar job. In many cases the rate you start on will encompass these entitlements from Day 1. Entitlements under “pay” may include but are not limited to the following:

Hourly/daily rate

Payment for shift/overtime/night work
Bonus or commission payments related to individual performance
Annual leave entitlement
Vouchers that have a monetary value (e.g. eye care, luncheon vouchers)
Working time (e.g. an employee can work a maximum of 35 hours per week)

Rest breaks

Paid time off for anti-natal appointments for pregnant workers
These rights apply to all agency workers employed under PAYE and Ltd company contracts. The only exception is for workers who are genuinely in business on their own account. Entitlements will be assessed and communicated on a case by case basis.

Out of scope:

Certain core contractual benefits are excluded from the AWR. These include:

  • Redundancy pay
  • Pension
  • Bonus related to company performance
  • Company sick, maternity and paternity pay
  • Benefits in kind that are not related to pay (e.g. reduced gym membership, private healthcare, discounted
  • goods from a company shop)
  • Vouchers that are part of a salary sacrifice scheme (e.g. childcare vouchers)

Candidate FAQs

Q: If I am already working on an assignment through Firmin Recruit will I automatically be entitled to equal pay?
A: The regulations are not retrospective and will only apply as of the 1st October 2011, therefore the earliest anybody will be eligible for Week 12 rights is late December. However, you will be entitled to equal access to facilities and internal vacancies from Day 1 of your assignment.

Q: How and where do I find out what access to facilities I am entitled to?
A: If you are already working on an assignment then speak to your line manager, they should be able to inform you of your entitlements. If you are not currently working on a temporary assignment then ask your line manager when you start your next assignment.

Q: How and when do I start receiving equal pay?
A: If you are entitled to equal pay under the AWR Firmin Recruit will automatically amend your pay rate(s) after you have been working in the same role with the same business for twelve continuous weeks. Any of the following absences will not count towards this twelve week period:

A break of less than 6 weeks where the agency worker returns to the same role with the same hirer.
Any break which is for the purpose of taking leave to which the agency worker is entitled, including annual leave.
A break of up to 28 weeks because the agency worker is incapable of work because of sickness of injury.
A break caused by strike, lock out or other industrial action at the hirer’s establishment.
A break up to 28 calendar weeks to allow the agency worker to perform jury service.

Q: What if I have worked through different agencies at the same hirer?
A: Your twelve week period will continue to be accrued regardless of which agency you worked through, providing you work in the same role for the same hirer. When you register with an agency you should make sure you give them your up to date work history, specifically including any assignments you have already completed at a hirer they place you with.

Q: What if I get a job with a new hirer, but I was previously doing the same role for another hirer?
A: You will only clock up a 12 week period based on which hirer you’re working for.