The rights which the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) give an agency worker are split into two categories: rights they receive from day one of starting a new temporary contract and rights they receive after completing 12 continuous weeks in the same role with the same hirer.
“Day One” Rights
As soon as an agency worker takes up a temporary position, they are entitled to receive the same access to job vacancies as their permanent colleagues.
In addition, they must be granted equal access to all on-site facilities. Thus, if an end-user client provides its permanent employees with access to a car park (for example), it must provide access to the agency worker on the same basis.
The key thing to note here is that the end-user client need only provide the same access to these facilities as it does to permanent staff performing an equivalent role.
So, using the same example, if the Managing Director has a parking space for her Porsche in an underground car park, it does not automatically follow that the agency worker can demand to use the car park as well (nor can he demand a Porsche).
However, if all new permanent staff are given a parking space, the contractor must receive the same.
The equal rights do not extend to off-site facilities (e.g. discounted gym membership).
The majority of rights which the AWR bestows upon agency workers only kick in after they have completed 12 weeks working for the same hirer. Of course, due to the nature of contracting, working patterns can be irregular. The AWR therefore provides for a number of circumstances in which breaks do not prevent agency workers from completing the 12 week period.
After this period, agency workers are entitled to receive equal treatment to permanent employees in terms of:
- Basic pay
- Bonuses and commission
- Overtime rate
- Contracted working hours
- Annual leave entitlement
- Breaks and rest periods
- Night work
- Any other relevant contractual entitlements
However, it should be noted that their rights after 12 weeks specifically exclude the likes of sick pay, pension, redundancy pay, maternity and paternity pay as well as loyalty schemes.
Learn more: what to do if you don’t think you’re receiving your rights under the AWR