The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) published its guidance on The Agency Worker’s Regulations 2010 on 4 April 2011. The Regulations are due to come into force on 1 October 2010.
The guidance makes it clear that the law will not be retrospective and that the new rights to equal treatment as far as pay is concerned will only apply after an agency worker has completed a qualifying 12 weeks’ service in the same role. However, time will run from 1 October 2010 and not before.
The Regulations give further guidance on the definition of a ‘Temporary Work Agency’, which includes a high street agency, or indeed an intermediary such as an umbrella company or a master or neutral vendor arrangement if they supply agency workers.
In other words, an agency worker who is engaged through an umbrella company who finds work through a temporary work agency will be covered by the Regulations, as will arrangements governed by a master vendor or neutral vendor arrangements.
The Regulations also make clear that there is an exemption from equal treatment provisions on pay, where an agency can offer an agency worker a permanent contract of employment and pay the worker between assignments that is during periods when the agency worker is not working as there are no suitable assignments. This means that after 12 weeks in the same role, the agency worker will not be entitled to the same pay as a permanent member of staff as if they had been hired directly.
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