Temporary workers rights – are you ready?
The law requiring equal rights for agency workers will finally come into force in October this year. The new entitlements apply to all temporary staff and agency workers who remain in a job for more than 12 weeks. In a nutshell, it will require companies that hire temporary staff and agencies which supply temporary personnel to ensure that their rights match those of equivalent permanent employees.
There is no legal requirement to make a formal comparison but it has been recommended in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills guidance. It will certainly help you to feel prepared for the legislative change and put you in a stronger position if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a dispute.
We have created a practical checklist to help you get started with this process:
- Which roles within your company most frequently employ agency staff?
- How many of these roles are also filled by permanent members of staff?
- If there are no permanent co-workers, are there other employees in your company who might be viewed as having equivalent status?
If you employ large numbers of agency workers, it makes sense to prioritise the process of reviewing rights in the areas with the highest number of temporary staff. Remember that all agency workers are entitled to the same levels of access to on-site facilities (e.g. canteens) and job vacancies from the day they join your company.
After 12 weeks the types of rights which are likely to receive the greatest attention include:
- Equal pay for equivalent work – but you are allowed to take account of qualifications and experience
- The duration of their work time
- Night work
- Rest periods
- Rest breaks
- Annual leave
- Paid time off for antenatal appointments
Additionally, an agency worker who refuses to do a suitable assignment will be entitled to 4 weeks pay if s/he is dismissed.
The 12 week entitlements apply once an agency worker has been with you for 12 calendar weeks, regardless of the number of hours that person works. There are also strict guidelines on anti-avoidance provisions which mean that we can’t simply escape the law by firing agency staff after 11 weeks and replacing them with a new person.
At Sue Rees we take our legal responsibilities very seriously. We are members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) which gives us access to the latest guidance on changes to the law. We can then share this advice with you, our clients.
We understand that these changes may have a big impact on your business and we will work closely with you to make the transition as smooth as possible. If you need any extra help from us, please don’t hesitate to ask.
At Sue Rees, we understand the importance of building and maintain strong teams so we work closely with all our clients to give you a shortlist of candidates who will support you in achieving your goals. We hope you found this newsletter interesting. Please feel free to share it with your colleagues and contacts.