The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) came in to effect on the 1st of October 2011. It entitles temporary agency workers parity in pay and employment conditions equivalent to those they would have received had they been recruited directly by the hirer to do the same job.

Under the AWR 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).

Overview of AWR workers right to parity

Day 1:

Since the 1st October 2011 any temporary worker placed through an agency for an end hirer will be granted the same access to facilities and internal vacancies as a directly employed member of staff doing the same or broadly similar job. These are usually on-site facilities including but not limited to the following:

  • Access to internal vacancies
  • Crèche
  • Prayer room
  • Room
  • Car Parking
  • Canteen
  • Local pick-up/drop-off

A line manager will be able to advise 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)

AWR – Candidates FAQs

Q: If I am already working on a placement through Hunterskill 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 Hunterskill 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.

Q: What do I do if I think I am not receiving equal treatment and want to make a claim?

A: Follow the policy.

Candidates request for information policy

Day 1:

Equal access to on-site facilities and internal vacancies:

If your query is in relation to Day 1 entitlements, such as access to information on internal vacancies or collective on-site facilities such as a crèche, car-parking or canteen, follow the process below. This request can be made at any point after the start of the assignment.

  • Speak to the hirer/client (e.g. your line manager or supervisor).
  • If your query is unresolved or you are not satisfied with the response, submit a written request for information to the hirer/client.
  • The hirer/client has 28 days from receipt of the request to respond in writing. They should provide:
    • A written statement with all relevant information relating to the rights of a comparable worker or employee; and
    • Reasons for the treatment of agency workers
  • If you are unsatisfied with the response or do not receive one, you may choose to bring a claim via an Employment Tribunal. A tribunal will not consider a complaint under the Regulations unless it is presented within 3 months of the actual breach.

Post 12 weeks:

Equal pay:

If your query relates to entitlements after the 12 week qualifying period and this 12 week period is up, please follow the process below:

  • Speak to your consultant or manager at Hunterskill on 01473 216611.
  • If your query is unresolved or you are not satisfied with the response, submit a written request for information to Reg Jacob, Director at this email or at the following address; Hunterskill Recruitment, 3 Chalfont Square, 17 Great Coleman Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 2AJ.
  • Hunterskill has 28 days from receipt of the request to respond in writing. We will aim to provide:
    • Relevant information relating to basic working and employment conditions e.g. rate of pay, number of weeks holiday, usual contractual terms etc.
    • Any relevant information or factors that were considered when determining the basic pay and working conditions e.g. if there is a pay scale, where the agency worker is put on the pay scale.
    • Where the equal treatment is based on a flesh and blood comparable employee (doing the same or similar work), the information describes the terms and conditions applicable to that employee, explains any difference in treatment, e.g. lower rate of pay based on lower level of qualifications, skill, experience and expertise.
  • If you have not received a written statement back from the agency within 30 days of making the request, you can then write to the hirer/client requesting the same information, but only after this 30 day period is up.
  • If you are unsatisfied with the response or do not receive one, you may choose to bring a claim via an Employment Tribunal.