The Agency Workers Regulations (“AWR”) will come into force on 1 October 2011, marking significant changes for temporary agency workers, temporary work agencies and hirers.

Broadly, the AWR will give agency workers (who have completed a qualifying period of twelve weeks in a particular role with the same hirer) entitlement to the same basic employment and working conditions as if they had been recruited directly by the hirer.

The AWR also stipulate that from day one of any assignment, agency workers have the right to be treated no less favourably than a comparable employee in relation to the collective facilities and amenities provided by the hirer, including for example, access to a canteen, childcare facilities and the provision of transport services. In addition, agency workers will also have the right, from day one of any assignment, to be informed of any vacant posts with the hirer, in order to give them the same opportunities as other workers within that organisation to find permanent employment.

Agency workers will be able to enforce their rights in the Employment Tribunal and penalties for non-compliance can be awarded against hirers and/or agencies who are found to have breached the provisions of the AWR.