What are the Agency Workers Regulations 2010?

The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) were introduced in 2011 as a measure to protect agency workers by granting them the same rights as employees.

What is an agency worker?

An agency worker, as defined by AWR legislation, is someone who “is supplied by a temporary work agency to work temporarily for and under the supervision and direction of a hirer; and

  • has a contract with the temporary work agency which is:

  • a contract of employment with the agency, or

  • any other contract to perform work and services personally for the agency.

An agency worker has certain rights over two specific time frames.

Day one rights include access to facilities typically available to permanent staff, inclusion in internal communication of vacancies and the opportunity to apply from within, before the end-hirer outsources to fill the position.

From week 12 onwards of an assignment (qualifying period, for which the worker has worked in the same role, with the same employer), the regulations for temporary agency workers expand to include working condition regulations such as breaks, annual leave, and equal pay.

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.

Please note, if you are a direct employee and not an ‘Agency Worker” you will be entitled to full employment rights.

Will I get a contract?

As an Agency Worker, you will receive a contract.

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 and the client are responsible for making sure your get your equal treatment rights under the Agency Worker Regulations. For more information on these Regulations, please see above.

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 are 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.

This is done by accruing 12.07% holiday leave per hour worked for your holiday days and by accruing 12.07% of your hourly rate per hour worked for your holiday pay. 12.07% is the percentage equivalent of 28 days (calculated by 5.6 weeks leave/46.4 weeks of working time).

How can I request information about the obligation for 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 respond to your request.

If the recruiter does not fulfil its obligations in providing a response within 30 days, you can ask the client for the information, for which they also have 28 days to respond.