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Agency workers and temps


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Under the Agency Workers Regulations [2010] after 12 weeks continuous employment, agency workers receive the same pay and basic working conditions as direct recruits. The ‘Swedish derogation’ provides an exemption to the right to equal pay, if agency workers are employed under a permanent contract of employment with the temporary work agency and are paid by the agency for periods between assignments. From 6 April 2020, the Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations [2019] removes the Swedish Derogation. Once agency workers have satisfied the 12-week qualifying period, they will be entitled to the same pay as workers who are engaged directly by the employer. The Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 gives agency workers the right to a statement of written particulars from their first day of employment.

Workplace rights of agency workers and temps

Who is an agency worker or temp?

An agency worker or temp is a person who has a contract with a Temporary Work Agency (the employment agency) but works temporarily for and under the direction and supervision of a hirer. There are three important contractual relationships between;

  1. You – as the agency worker who is paid by the Employment Agency
  2. The Employment Agency you are registered with – the TWA who is paid by the Company you are sent to work for
  3. The Company you are sent to work for – The Hirer who pays the Employment Agency for your services

These relationships are covered by the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 which give you the right to either the same or not less favourable treatment than your colleagues who are permanent. These rights start after you have worked for 12 weeks in a particular job.

All workers, including agency workers, are entitled to the following statutory protections:

As an agency worker, you have additional protection under the Agency Worker Regulations 2010.


Agency contract

Under Regulation 3(1), an agency worker is a person who is is supplied by a temporary work agency (TWA) to work temporarily for and under the supervision and direction of a hirer, and has a contract with the TWA which is either a contract of employment with the agency, or any other contract to perform work and services personally for the agency.


Who is not an agency worker?

Regulation 3(2) says that if you are self-employed then you are not an agency worker. So if the employment agency is your client or a customer of your business, then you are excluded from the Agency Workers Regulations. The same applies if the hirer is your client or a customer of your business.


Updated: 14/03/2020

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