Agency Workers Regulations
“I have always compared the Agency Workers Regulations to a doctor’s needle – Initially, they look quite terrifying, but they won’t be as bad as you expect, and, if you grin and bear it (and have a strategy to mitigate their impact!), the AWR should have a positive effect overall. If prepared for extensively, and contingency plans are put into place, it should be a smooth transition for most companies.”
- Matthew Sanders, CEO, de Poel
The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) came into force on October 1st 2011.
Temporary agency workers and flexible workforces play a huge role in UK businesses. Through the economic turmoil of the last few years reliance on contingent staff has grown as companies look for a flexible staffing option.
The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) came into force last year and is intended to give qualifying agency workers the same basic pay, holidays and working time they would have received had they been employed directly by the hirer to do the same job. This means that qualifying agency workers, which generally speaking will be those that have worked 12 weeks for the same hirer, are entitled to the same rate of pay, the same annual leave entitlements and the same access to collective facilities as an employee doing the same job, but they are not entitled to all of the benefits that the comparable employee gets.
The AWR covers agency workers supplied by a temporary work agency to a hirer. This includes most agency workers that people refer to as 'temps'. It does not cover temporary workers employed directly by the hirer. The regulations do not cover the genuinely self-employed, individuals working through their own limited company, or individuals working on managed service contracts.
Although the temporary agency recruitment market has fluctuated since the implementation of the regulations, demand has largely remained strong. The REC has found that recruitment costs have increased slightly, but the cataclysmic effect that the regulations were expected to have on UK businesses has yet to be seen. What little attention the AWR has received has largely been regarding its non-effect or the so-called ‘legal loophole’ of Swedish Derogation.
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