Guidance notes on the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012 (the “Act”) were published by the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation on 31 August 2012.

The notes are intended to assist agency workers, hirers of agency workers and employment agencies to better understand the provisions of the Act, which give agency workers an entitlement to the same treatment as comparable employees with respect to basic employment and working conditions (subject to some limitations), had they been employed by the hirer under a contract at the same time.

Broadly, the guidance notes clarify the entitlements conferred by the 2012 Act and the obligations and responsibilities for the parties involved, and, in particular, confirm:

  • to whom the Act does not apply (including independent contractors, placement services and managed service contracts);
  • what is included in the definition of pay;
  • what constitutes collective facilities in the workplace, and the grounds on which a hirer has objective justification to deny an agency worker access to such facilities.

The notes also confirm that the pay provisions of the Act are retrospective, which means that agency workers who were on assignment on 5 December 2011, are entitled to equal treatment in relation to pay as and from that 5 December date.  For those agency workers who commenced employment after 5 December, the provisions relating to pay take effect from the date of their assignment.

In the main, the notes merely repeat the statutory provisions, and fail to give practical examples, unlike their UK equivalent, the Agency Workers Regulations Guidance Notes, which are far more comprehensive and useful in terms of acting as a practical guide to the interpretation of the legislation in the UK.

To access the guidance notes, please click here.