The Government has published draft guidance on the Agency Workers Regulations 2010. The Regulations are due to take effect on 1 October this year, and give agency workers placed with an end-user for 12 weeks or more entitlement to the same pay and basic terms and conditions that would have applied had they been recruited as permanent employees.

Key points from the guidance for end-users of agency workers are:

  • The categories of workers regarded as not covered by the Regulations is limited (workers in business on their own account and in-house temporary staff banks are the most obvious examples).
  • Eligible agency workers will be entitled to equal treatment in "working time" provisions, such as holiday and rest breaks as well as "pay".
  • "Pay" has a relatively broad definition; the guidance includes a comprehensive list of included and excluded categories and for some items within the pay definition, such as bonuses related to individual performance, gives examples of arrangements that fall either side of the line.
  • Access to on-site facilities and information on job vacancies starts from day one of the assignment.
  • The qualifying period is 12 weeks in the same role with the same hirer, regardless of how many (or few) hours are worked in a week.
  • A short break between assignments will not break the qualifying period. A six week break between assignments will be needed to reset the qualifying period.
  • For workers already in an assignment, the 12 weeks' qualifying period starts on 1 October.
  • There is a detailed section on the information the end-user has to supply to the agency and to the agency workers themselves.
  • There are frequent references to anti-avoidance; any arrangements designed to deprive agency workers of their entitlements is risky.

The draft guidance is open for consultation until 15 April; you can see the paper here: Agency Workers guidance.