Friday, 15 April 2011

AWR- What are they good for...?

The Agency Workers Directive will be implemented in the UK on 1 October 2011 through the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (“AWR”).

The AWR were brought in to provide temporary agency workers with equal treatment in terms of basic working and employment conditions. The AWR aim to put agency workers on an equal footing with those employed directly to do the same job by the hirer.

What do basic working and employment conditions relate to?

The term “basic working and employment conditions” refer to contractual terms relating to:

  • Pay
  • Duration of working time
  • Night work
  • Rest periods and rest breaks
  • Annual leave
What does “pay” include?

“Pay” means any sums payable to a worker of the hirer in connection with the worker’s employment, including any fee, bonus, commission, holiday pay or any other earnings referable to the employment.

Workers may also be entitled to certain other non-pecuniary benefits which the employer may provide its employees with.

Qualifying period

Agency workers will only be entitled to equal treatment when they have been in the same role with the same hirer for 12 weeks.

What if the agency worker is not being afforded equal treatment?

If agency worker are not being afforded equal treatment then their remedy lies in a claim at the employment tribunal. The tribunal can decide what rights should be afforded to the agency worker and make an award of unlimited compensation to the agency worker. The award will however be restricted to the loss arising from the breach.

Practical effects

For employers, this change could have considerable impact in terms of additional cost. The increased wage bill could be significant for organisations that rely on the services of agency staff.  Employers may find that the practical and administrative effects of the AWR are unduly burdensome and may seek to reduce their reliance on agency staff.

What can we do?

Employers should seek advice on their duties and responsibilities under the AWR prior to recruitment.

For further advice, contact Stephen Connolly on 0141 227 6090.

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