A Plain English Guide To British Employment Law

Agency Workers

What are the Agency Workers Regulations?

Agency workers (or temps) are covered by a variety of employment law rights under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 . Temps are entitled to some of rights from the first day of an assignment, and others after 12 weeks in the same job.

What do the regulations means for agency workers?

You have access facilities and information about job vacancies where you are working temporarily from the first day of your assignment.

After 12 weeks in the same job with the same hirer you are entitled to equal treatment in relation to elements of:

  • pay
  • holidays
  • night work
  • rest periods/breaks
  • duration of working time

After completion of the 12 week qualifying period, pregnant agency workers are allowed paid time off for antenatal appointments during an assignment.

Am I covered by the Agency Workers Regulations?

You are covered by the rights if you have a contract with a temporary work agency.

The agency will find you a job or assignment with a hirer (ie. someone who needs additional staff on a temporary basis).

You are not prevented from being covered by these rights simply because you have a contract with a company and then find work through an agency.

While working for the hirer you are under their supervision and direction. The hirer will tell you what job you are doing, how to do it and provide any necessary training to do the job.

You are likely to be covered by the agency worker rights if:

  • you often work on a variety of different assignments with different hirers – but can be on one long assignment
  • your time sheets are sent to the agency to process
  • you are paid by the agency based on time sheets
  • your sick leave is paid by the agency if you are eligible
  • the agency pays you when you are on annual leave

You are unlikely to be covered by the agency worker rights if:

  • your agency finds you a permanent job and you are employed and paid by your new employer
  • you find work through an agency but have your own business and the hirer is your client or customer

You are also unlikely to be covered if you work for any agency:

  • that provides a specific service to a client
  • where someone from the agency supervises and directs you on a day to day basis
  • that provides any necessary training and determines how and when you work

Just having someone from the agency on site who helps with queries would not exclude you from the new rights. You cannot opt out of these rights if you are covered by them.