The Government has published guidance on the Agency Workers Regulations which is intended to help employers and the recruitment sector to understand the new Regs. The new legislation will come into force on 1 October 2011.

The Regulations are designed to give effect to European Directive 2008/104/EC (temporary agency work). Member States must comply with this Directive by 5 December 2011. The main provision is the requirement to provide agency workers with a right to equal treatment after 12 weeks on an assignment in respect of basic terms and conditions including pay.

Pay will essentially mean basic pay plus other select contractual entitlements directly linked to the work undertaken by the agency worker whilst on assignment. However, it should be noted that occupational maternity, paternity or adoption pay is excluded along with occupational sick pay.

The Regulations include provisions to counter avoidance techniques such as moving an agency worker to another assignment or ending their engagement and re-engaging them to avoid them obtaining 12 weeks' service.

The guidance is not yet finalised – it is open for comments until 15 April. It is expected that further guidance will be produced at the end of April.

To view the guidance, please follow the link.