The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) comes into effect in the UK on the 1st of October 2011. As with any new employment legislation, you need to be aware of your responsibilities as many agency workers will be aware of their rights.
Employment law is always a bit of a minefield, but especially so when new legislation comes into effect. So here are a few simple guidelines to follow if you are hiring agency workers after the legislation kicks in…
Firstly, employers will need to understand the AWR. It’s all very well and good hearing about the AWR and understanding that there’s a change coming to employment law, but you need to know if and how it will affect you. Some of the most significant changes employers and agencies are to face under the AWR include requirements in respect of pay, duration of working time, night work, rest periods, access to facilities and annual leave. Try talking to an employment law advisor to find out more.
Employment agencies and hiring companies have different responsibilities under the AWR, so it’s good for them to understand their role. For instance, hiring companies will face certain responsibilities from the first day of hiring an agency worker, such as ensuring access to some facilities. Both agencies and hiring companies have a responsibility to ensure that the agency worker has parity in some terms and conditions but duties fall primarily on the agency in relation to some maternity rights.
How do you define an agency worker? After all, your definition might be different to the one laid out in the AWR. The definition includes most ‘temp’ or temporary agency workers, but can exclude some independent workers or individuals who are employed on certain contracts. As with so many aspects of employment law, these definitions are open to interpretation and you should be absolutely certain of your workers’ rights.
Granted, employment law seems to change all the time and it can be a pain to keep track of the constantly moving goal posts. But under the new AWR, and under all employment legislation for that matter, your organisation could face having to pay compensation, fines, legal costs and you could face the loss of your business or reputation.
If you’re not sure of where you stand under changing employment laws, talk to someone who specialises in the subject. The right employment law advice can allow you to handle your business regardless of shifting legislation and can ensure that you never fall foul of a new law you’re not certain of. Protecting your workers’ rights is vital to ensuring the ongoing success of your business, whether you are an employment agency or a hiring organisation, so if you’re confused, then you should talk to someone who can guide you in the right direction.