On 1 October 2011, the Agency Worker Regulations will come into force with potentially wide-reaching and costly outcomes for those organisations that do not comply.
The Regulations aim to enhance the rights of agency workers, but unfortunately this is likely to be at the expense of the organisations that use them.
Once an agency worker begins a placement with an organisation, they must be afforded certain rights.
For most organisations, these rights will be the use of their facilities such as a canteen or childcare provision as well as the agency worker’s right to have access to all internal vacancies. These rights are often referred to as ‘day one rights’.
After the agency worker has been in the same placement for a period of 12 weeks their rights will be enhanced further.
Organisations will be obliged to provide an agency worker with the same terms as if they had been employed directly.
This will often lead to an increase in pay, the amount of annual leave they can expect to receive as well any other aspect of the working relationship which fell short of that of a comparable employee.
There are however some notable exceptions, including pensions and some bonuses.
The calculation of the 12-week period will not commence until the Regulations come into force on 1 October 2011.
It is important that organisations are aware of potential damages that can be awarded from not providing these enhanced rights which include a minimum of two weeks’ pay, no upper limit on awards and the tribunal determining the value of anything unquantifiable.
In addition, there is also a £5,000 fine for any organisation seen to be deliberately side-stepping the Regulations.
Should you have any queries or if you require additional information, please contact Hannah Morgan on 01633 415436 or email [email protected]