AWR – Agency Worker Regulations
Introduction to AWR
The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) will be implemented in the UK on 1st October 2011. The purpose of the regulations is to provide Agency Workers with equal treatment in terms of basic working and employment conditions as if they had been employed directly by the Hirer once they have completed the qualifying period of 12 weeks in the same job per Hirer and including Groups.
The qualifying and entitlement period begins on 1st October 2011 and does not include any hours that Agency Workers have worked prior to this date.
As a result of these changes we have adjusted our contracts to ensure that we are compliant under the new regulations. You’ll notice that ‘Temporary Workers’ are now referred to as ‘Agency Workers’ and where we are acting as an ‘Employment Business’ the Client will now be referred to as the ‘Hirer’.
How will this affect Temporary Assignments?
From now on, when working on an assignment, we will be asking the Hirer for extra bits of information to ensure that we are able to deliver our contractual agreements to Agency Workers and our legal obligations under the new AWR.
This includes (In Summary):
- Pay (e.g. basic, commission, overtime, shift allowances, risk payments, vouchers/stamps, bonuses and any other remuneration – including frequency of payments and any qualifying criteria)
- Terms (e.g. entitlements for pay reviews, working hours, night work, rest periods, rest breaks and duration of working hours)
- Holidays (e.g. entitlement, whether statutory or greater and inclusive of bank/public holidays or not)
- Facilities (e.g. canteen, childcare facilities and transport services, toilets and shower facilities and prayer rooms)
For the avoidance of doubt the Agency Worker will not become an employee of the Hirer and are only entitled to equal treatment as they are working under a Contract of Services and supplied by us as the Employment Business.
What needs to be provided from Day One of the assignment?
From Day One, Agency Workers are entitled to be treated no less favourably than a comparable worker or employee in relation to access to collective facilities and amenities provided by the Hirer.
Collective facilities and amenities include:
- a canteen or other similar facilities, workplace crèche, transport services (e.g. in this context, local pick up and drop offs, transport between sites – but not company car allowances or season ticket loans), toilets/shower facilities, staff common room, waiting room, mother and baby room, prayer room, food and drinks machines and car parking.
Hirers are liable for less favourable treatment unless it can be objectively justified.
What needs to be provided after Week 12 (Qualifying Period) in the assignment?
The qualifying period (QP) is 12 weeks and is triggered by working in the same job with the same hirer for 12 calendar weeks.
A calendar week in this context will comprise any period of seven days starting with the first day of an Assignment and calendar weeks will be accrued regardless of how many hours the Agency Worker does on a weekly basis and does not have to be consecutive.
The accrual of 12 weeks (the clock) is affected as follows:
- The clock stops if there is a break of 6 weeks or more between assignments
- The clock pauses for breaks of less than 6 weeks, annual leave, shut-downs and strikes
- The clock pauses for up to 28 weeks for jury service or illness
- The clock continues to run for any absence related to pregnancy, childbirth and maternity
- The clock resets if the agency worker returns to a new role which is substantively different to the previous role
The Agency Worker will also become entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as a comparable employee or worker.
The terms and conditions affected by the AWR are:
- Key elements of pay
- Duration of working time (e.g. if working is limited to a maximum of 48 hours a week)
- Night work
- Rest periods
- Rest breaks
- Annual leave
- Paid time off for ante natal appointments
An agency worker can request information about basic terms and conditions once the QP has been reached. The request must first be made to the Employment Business, and if there is no response within 30 days, then to the Hirer, who has 28 days to respond.
Failure to provide equal treatment means a breach of the AWR and the Agency Worker can claim compensation from either or both the Employment Business and/or the Hirer. A minimum compensation of 2 week’s pay can be awarded to the Agency Worker.
What will you be doing to ensure compliance with AWR?
Talk Staff ™ Recruitment invested in a world industry leading software solution specifically designed for the Recruitment Industry in July 2010 in anticipation of these regulations and to improve our efficiencies in tracking all recruitment processes throughout the day to day handling of our clients’ requirements.
Over the last month we have completed several updates in anticipation of the AWR and a further update is to take place on 1st October 2011 to incorporate an ‘AWR Clock’ which will enable our consultants to efficiently manage this process.
We will endeavour to run reports via our system on weekly basis and inform the Hirer and Agency Worker once the entitlement is nearing the qualifying period.