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Agency Worker Regulations

“The AWR is a section of legislation rolled out in October 2011. It is working towards paying the same benefits and allowances to temporary contractors as to full time employees; based on a specified contract period and a number of comparative tests.”.

The most important section of the regulations states that:

– If you are an ‘agency worker’ you have a right after 12 weeks service with a client to equal pay and equal working hours, rest breaks and holiday provisions, and the right to paid time off for ante-natal appointments, that a ‘comparable’ permanent employee of your client receives

– These 12 weeks do not have to be continuous

Rights & Responsibilities

The following section highlights each party’s rights and responsibilities and offer’s some advice about handling your approach.

Day-One Rights

Day-one rights are the sole responsibility of the recruiter and must include:

Equal treatment – access to amenities and facilities that are generally utilised by full-time employees of the hirer (e.g., canteens, lockers, uniforms, parking, memberships, and all other items that aren’t a reward for long service or loyalty).

Equal Opportunity – access to all ‘relevant’ job vacancies, giving them an opportunity to apply directly for a full-time or hired position. This should include notice boards, intra net access, direct correspondence, email notification, and/or any other vehicle for making the agency worker aware.

Whilst day-one rights are solely the responsibility of the hirer, it is good practice for agencies to put standard guidelines in place to make sure all hirers are aware of the rules.

Rights after the Qualifying Period

The Qualifying Period is the 12-week period in which the agency worker is employed with the hirer for the same or similar role. This does not take into account any natural breaks during this time such as holidays, sickness, maternity, and other statutory reasons for which the clock is paused. The period pertains to the time worked with a particular hirer, meaning that an agency worker could have already worked for the hirer before joining your business and, therefore, may have qualified for equal treatment instantly. Also, the qualifying clock resets if there is a break of more than 6 weeks from the previous hirer and if the agency worker has moved to a different hirer.

Be sure to ascertain an agency worker’s previous work history and document these details before he/she starts with your business. We suggest that you investigate as far as 6 months prior to the time they join your agency. You should also keep an eye open for multiple simultaneous hirer arrangements—this ought to be a red flag and should be monitored.

An agency worker is entitled to the following equal rights after completing the 12-week qualifying period:

  • Equal pay, including performance-related commissions, bonuses, and benefits
  • Equal holiday entitlement (i.e., number of comparative days and pay levels)
  • Rest breaks (i.e., number of and the length of breaks during the working day)
  • Opportunity to work different shifts and days (in the same manner as permanent employee)
  • Duration of working time is not more or less than that of a permanent employee

Agencies need to:

  • Educate staff about AWR and understand the timescales involved
  • Ensure staff know what information about equal rights they will need to request from the hirer
  • Understand when this information will need to be collected from hirers, to allow them to provide correct treatment to the qualifying agency workers
  • Consider how this information will flow if they are multiple tiers in the supply chain

With Benifacts Umbrella:

We constantly keep a track, if the agency or end-client has completed 12-weeks with a respective contractor and are thus eligible for AWR assessment. We double check with contractor, too because if you are working for more than one agency or have experienced one of the elements which paused the AWR clock, we need to know.


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