1 October sees the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 come into force.

The Regulations aim to provide protection for temporary agency workers by ensuring that they receive equal treatment in terms of their “basic working and employment conditions” as if they had been directly employed to do the same job.

From the first day of their assignment agency workers will be entitled to access the collective facilities and amenities of the organisation engaging them, and they will also be entitled to have access to information about the company’s job vacancies.

After a 12 week qualifying period the Regulations provide that the right to equal treatment will cover pay, the duration of working time, night work, rest periods and rest breaks, and annual leave. However, the Regulations do not afford agency workers equal treatment in all respects and exclude from their scope equality of treatment in relation to occupational pensions, sick pay, maternity, paternity and adoption leave, and redundancy pay.  Although organisations which engage agency workers may be tempted to circumvent the 12 week qualifying period by offering a succession of shorter assignments, there are anti avoidance provisions in the Regulations to prevent this type of loophole.

The Government’s guidance can be found here:- Agency Workers Regulations guidance published