The Government guidance on the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, which are due to come into force on 1 October this year, was published last month. It was intended to be final, but some additional amendments have already been incorporated earlier this month.

The regulations will create a right for agency workers to receive the same basic terms and conditions as if they had been recruited directly by the hirer (subject to a qualifying period of 12 weeks in the same role). In addition, they create "day one" rights for agency workers to have access to facilities and vacancies with the hirer.

The regulations have been the subject of criticism and controversy and the Coalition considered amending them last year. However, it decided not to do so, and the guidance instead seeks to help employers and agencies to interpret and comply with them. It gives illustrative examples and assistance in relation to some of the more difficult questions including:

  • Who will be an agency worker?
  • What terms and conditions are covered by the equal treatment requirement?
  • Is a comparator is needed?
  • How does the 12-week qualifying period work?
  • What information will hirers need to provide to agencies?
  • Who will be responsible for any breach?

The guidance, while essential reading for hirers and agencies, still leaves plenty of scope for debate once the regulations come into force.