What are the Agency Workers Regulations 2010?

Regulations that ensure an agency worker is given the same pay and working conditions as someone in the same role as them but who has been employed directly by the client.

What is an agency worker?

Someone engaged by one organisation, e.g. a recruiter, on a contract who provides their services personally to a client under that client’s supervision, direction and control. You might be employed as a ‘worker’ on a contract for services or as an employee on a contract of service. Your contract will specify which one you are.

What rights do I have as an agency worker?

As a worker, you’re entitled to the following, subject to meeting some criteria in some cases:

  • National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage

  • Protection from unlawful deduction from wages

  • Statutory Sick Pay, if you meet the criteria.

  • Statutory Maternity and Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Pay and Adoption Pay, if you meet the criteria.

  • Statutory holidays – a minimum of 5.6 weeks per year

  • Minimum rest breaks

  • Maximum working time – 48 hours per week, you can opt out of this limit if you want to

  • Pension auto-enrolment if you meet the criteria.

  • Protection from unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010

  • Protection for whistleblowing

  • Health and safety protections

  • Right not to be charge direct or indirect fees for finding a job

  • Protections from being restricted from working elsewhere.

If you’re an employee, you’ll have full employment rights.

What are the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 and how do they affect me?

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) give agency workers additional rights in additional to the employment law rights listed at number 2.

Day one of your assignment:

  • Access to the same facilities as the client’s directly employed staff, e.g. canteens, vending machines, showers, childcare, car parking.

  • The right to be told about any job vacancies, even if you’re not eligible to apply.

After 12 weeks in assignment:

  • Equal pay as that of a directly employed member of the client;

  • Equal treatment as that of a directly employed member of the client in relation to – rest breaks, rest periods, annual leave, working time and night work;

  • Paid time off for ante-natal appointments;

  • Other rights in relation to new or expectant mothers.

Will I get a contract?

Yes. As an agency worker, you’ve got certain entitlements under various bis of law – The Conduct Regulations 2003 (we’ve shortened the official, wordy title for ease 😊), the Employment Rights Act 1996 and more.

Before you sign up with a recruitment company, you should be told:

  • Whether the recruiter will find your temporary or permanent work;

  • The type of contract you’ll have – employee, worker, apprentice, self-employed;

  • How much money the recruiters will try to obtain for you and when you’ll be paid;

  • The type of work the recruiter will try to find for you;

  • Any notice required by you or the recruiter to end any assignment you’re placed in;

  • How many holidays you’ll be entitled to and how you’ll get paid for them.

Before you start your role, you should also get information about:

  • The ID of the client;

  • Start date;

  • Length of assignment and end date;

  • What the role is;

  • Location of the role;

  • Hours you’re expected to work;

  • Any qualifications, training, experience or authorisations you need;

  • Any health and safety risks;

  • Any expenses payable by or to you.

Who is responsible for giving me my rights?

Both the recruiter, umbrella (if they are involved) and the client are responsible for making sure you get your equal treatment rights under the AWR.

Can I opt out of the AWR?

No, it is not possible to opt out off the AWR.

How do my holidays get calculated?

You’re entitled to the legal minimum holiday of 5.6 weeks per year but because you do not have fixed hours or work regular hours, your holiday entitlement and holiday pay is calculated using an accrual method based on how many hours you work. You will not be on an overarching contract – your contract will only exist when you are in an assignment.

Can I request information about equal treatment?

Yes, you can ask the recruiter to give you information on any equal treatment you have a query about. The recruiter has 28 days to reply.

If the recruiter doesn’t reply in 30 days, you can ask the client for the information, they have 28 days to reply too.