The AWR’s come into force on 1 October 2011 and apply to workers who are assigned to do temporary work (for hirers) via an agency.
Day One Rights
The Regulations provide that all agency workers must have access to a hirer’s facilities from the first day of their assignment. This includes use of a canteen, a workplace crèche, toilet/shower facilities, transport services or car parking. Liability for failure to provide access will be on the hirer, not the agency.
In addition, the agency worker must have access to information about any relevant job vacancies with the hirer during their assignment.
Equal Treatment Following a Qualifying Period
In addition, after completion of a 12 week qualifying period, agency workers are entitled to the same ‘basic working and employment conditions’ that they would have been entitled to had they been recruited directly by the hirer. The agency worker must have undertaken the same role, whether on one or more assignments, with the same hirer for 12 continuous calendar weeks.
Continuity of 12 weeks will not be broken by:
- Sickness absence of up to 28 weeks;
- Jury service up to 28 weeks;
- Maternity/pregnancy related absences; or
- Planned shutdowns, strikes or annual leave.
The 12 week period does not apply retrospectively and so those agency workers already on assignment on 1 October 2011 will start to accrue their 12-week qualifying period from that date.
Following the completion of the 12 week period, they agency worker is entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions that are included in the contracts of employees of the hirer including those relating to pay and working time.
Enforcement and Remedies
An agency worker can make a claim for breach of the Regulations. The time limit for presenting claims to a tribunal will usually be three months from the date of the infringement. The tribunal can make a declaration, order payment of compensation and/or make recommendations. Compensation payable will be a ‘just and equitable’ amount. There is no maximum award, although there is a minimum award of two weeks’ pay.