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Agency worker regulations: what employers need to know

From 1 October 2011, agency workers who have worked for a company for more than 12 weeks - an estimated 1.4 million – will have the right to the same basic employment rights and working conditions as permanent employees.

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From 1 October 2011, agency workers who have worked for a company for more than 12 weeks – an estimated 1.4 million – will have the right to the same basic employment rights and working conditions as permanent employees. The new rights to pay, working hours, overtime, holidays and bonuses have sparked fears of tribunal claims. If you use agency workers, act now to make sure your business is acting on the right side of the law. What do the rules mean for employers? The new rules will give agency workers who have worked for a company for more than 12 weeks the same basic employment rights and working conditions as if they had been recruited directly. From 1 October 2011, agency workers are also entitled to access to facilities, such as canteens and childcare facilities, from the first day of their assignment as well as information on your job vacancies. Basic employment rights After completing a 12 week qualifying period in the same job with the same company, they will be entitled to the equal treatment with regards to pay, working hours, overtime, holidays and bonuses. This means treating the agency worker equally to one that has been recruited directly to the same job (or as if they had been recruited directly). Basic working conditions Basic working and employment conditions refer to those ordinarily included in contracts, or documents such as pay scales, collective agreements and company handbooks, i.e. what pay, holidays rest breaks, etc. would they be entitled to if they were employed directly? You can use a comparator if you wish, but it is not a requirement. After completing the qualifying period, pregnant agency workers will also now be allowed to take paid time off for antenatal appointments during an assignment. What's not included? Company sick pay and redundancy pay are not included in the new rights for agency workers. Note: Workers who are recruited directly by you on a temporary basis are not covered under the regulations, the worker must have come to work for you through a work agency.

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