For an in depth guide to the the Agency Worker’s Regulations you’ll find a great guide from APSCo (Association of Professional Staffing Companies) here But first, to blow a few myths away Alison Treliving, partner at law firm Squire Sanders Hammonds, identifies five common misconceptions agencies have regarding the Agency Workers Regulations:
MYTH: Agency workers will have to point to a comparator in order to bring a claim.
Agency workers will not have to point to a permanent employee doing the same job as them to bring a claim. They will simply have to show that they would, for example, have been paid more if they had been recruited directly by the hirer to do the same job. Being able to point to a comparator could, however, be useful for agencies and hirers defending a claim to show deemed compliance.
MYTH: The regulations are not an issue for agency workers who are on a higher rate of pay than permanent staff.
Although such workers may not be able to bring any claim in respect of their rates of pay, they will still be entitled to holidays and rest breaks. If an agency worker can point to individual elements of pay that are less, for example a lower bonus, then he or she may be able to claim.
MYTH: From October 2011 we are going to be inundated with claims from agency workers.
We are unlikely to see claims coming before tribunals until at least mid mid-2012. Agency workers will not gain the right to equal treatment until they have completed the 12-week qualifying period, which ends around 25 December 2011.
MYTH: Agencies can simply take an agency worker off their books if they start being difficult about their rights under the regulations.
Agencies need to ensure that they do not treat agency workers less favourably because, for example, they make a request for information relating to their treatment or otherwise do something under the regulations. If found liable, an agency could be required to pay compensation to the agency worker.
MYTH: If there is a 12-month qualifying period to receive a bonus, agency workers will have to wait 15 months (i.e. 12 months plus the 12 week qualifying period) before they become eligible to such a bonus.
If there is a 12-month qualifying period to receive a bonus, this is counted from the start of the agency workers assignment. They do not have to wait 15 months.
This forms part of a wider article, Getting down to business on AWR, featured in the summer edition of Recruitment Matters.