The Rights of Agency Workers

Agency workers often see their employment as a stepping stone to getting their foot in the door of a particular company or use it to gain valuable experience to further their career aspirations .Many agency workers choose to let an employment agency find them work because for some it gives them Flexible Working Hours. They might take up agency work as it offers them more flexibility if they need to balance their work with other commitments and it also allows them to try out different types of job and to move from job to job more easily.

Whatever the motive for finding work via an agency – you have rights too. They include being protected by the National Minimum Wage, health and safety legislation, social security provisions, equality legislation and working time legislation. All of the legislation regarding these issues are contained within other articles on this website and apply equally to agency workers as they do to employed members of staff. In addition to government legislation, there are also other facts you should be aware of when dealing with your rights as an agency worker.

What Agencies Can’t Do

Agencies cannot charge you a fee for finding work on your behalf nor can they charge you for services like writing your CV in an effort to get you work. They must also give you written terms and conditions of your work agreement with them and you are under no obligation to only register with the one agency. In fact, if you register with a few, you stand a far better chance of getting the type of work you’re seeking. Also, if you’re offered full-time employment on staff at one of the companies the agency has found you work at, the agency cannot stop you taking it and there’s a limit on what the company might have to pay the agency once they take over your employment – often referred to as a ‘temp to perm’ fee.

Getting Your Pay

The terms and conditions of your pay will be set out in the employment contract which the agency must provide you with. Usually, you’ll be required to complete a timesheet which a supervisor from the company you’ve been placed at must verify and sign then you must return this by a set date in order that the agency can process your pay on time. As mentioned, you are fully covered by the legislation on minimum wage and working time legislation so you should also check out the facts regarding this. One point of note worth mentioning here is that the agency must still pay you for work you have completed, even if they haven’t yet been paid by the company you’re working for.

Sickness and Maternity Pay and Leave

Agency workers are able to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’ve worked at the same agency for over 3 months and you also qualify for Maternity or Paternity Pay but not Maternity or Paternity Leave.

Staff Perks

In spite of legislation when it comes to being treated the same as staff members within a particular company the agency has found you work at, agency workers may not get the same ‘perks’ as those who are directly employed by the company, e.g. holiday entitlements for agency workers might be different. In order to find out what you’re entitled to and how things might differ between you and a staff member, you should refer to your work contract and/or speak to the agency. Many companies will often choose to give the same perks to agency workers but they’re not compelled to do so and it wouldn’t be classed as unfair discrimination.

It’s important to know these rights and to Understand Your Employment Contract with the agency before you commit to working for them. And, if you feel you have been mistreated or discriminated against or that the agency has broken certain rules, you should contact the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) helpline on 0845 955 5105. They will be able to offer specialist advice and clarify anything which you don’t understand.

Fortunately, employment agencies are tightly regulated and they can be shut down for 10 years if they have been found to be in breach of the proper standards. And, if they have breached your contract, you can take them to court. Additionally, you can take them to an Employment Tribunal if they make any kind of unlawful deduction of your pay. The EAS are your first port of call if you experience problems with the agency if you feel it has contravened current legislation and, if you’re considering using an agency to find work for you, you should opt for one that is a member of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). There will usually be a sticker on their door or window if they’re a member and/or it will be stated on their letterheads. If you’re unsure, ask them to verify that.

7 thoughts on “The Rights of Agency Workers

  1. BlueDonkey89 says:

    I was just let go by a company but they lied about why and slandered me to the agency. Told them I refuse to do jobs which is complete BS. What can I do about this as this may affect any future jobs I’m offered

  2. Dee says:

    Hello I work for an agency as a supervisor for the company im assigned to, i also work as Lead on so day the other supervisor needs assistance. Q : My son applied to work my shift so i would be his transportation. They hired him to work the some shift. My boss told me he needs to change his shift because it’s a “conflict of interest” so i assured him it’s not going to change anything. He was assigned to this shift so how is it right to change him after 3 weeks on his assignment? Can my boss tell him to change his shift he don’t have transportation for? What is my son work rights?

  3. Piggy123 says:

    I am am agency worker. Now that I have been laid off during the covid 19 pandemic. Will I be held a week in hand again when I start back on site?

  4. Loll says:

    Hi am a agency work classed as a temporary worker self employed even though my agency take out my deductions for paye I am realy happy with my agency but I have worked at a place for them for 4 years I have varied places of work and have good reports with all never being off but last month I have experienced a bit of bullying as I see it by a nurse at aplace of work for some reason she has decided to keep cancelling my shifts for no apparent reason and has been quite volatile towards me I have witnessed incidents and reported to my agencie and my agencie asked me to make a statement which I did I never got a clear feed back from my agencie and the nurse in question has been off sick but i am due on shifts at weekend and have been made aware the nurse is telling staff not to book me on shifts and saying this in hangovers about me which are not true i feel i am being slandered and its having affect on me being allocated shifts I have and feel its deformation of character when I have never in my life or had any call for this behaviour towards me

  5. Oana says:

    Hello… i have a question if you can help me please… i m an agency worker with full time night shift… in one morning when i arrived home from work i receive a text message that due to the low volume of work i have cancel shift in that night… i didn t sleep that day and i let the nani of my son to stay home… after that i receive a text message with 4 hours before shift to come to work cause i m not stoof down for that night anymore, and i tried to call but nobody did awnser me but i couldn t go to work cause i was verry tired and i didn t have anyone to let my son with… they said that i can put like holiday that day when they text me in the morning… they have the right to fire me or put me like sick bacause of that? And i mention that my sick day s r unpaid and i work there from 9 months ago….

  6. Sparky says:

    Hi, Question …if the agency is offering me a steady rotation , but at a lower rate than the employees of the company , with me on a steady rotation am I entitled to earn the same day rate for doing the same job as the company employee gets … I’ve been with the agency 12 weeks coming back to the same place all the time ? Kind regards Mark.

  7. Salomon says:

    Im temporary worker for one company and during registration in agency ive been asked on what shift patterns i can work, i choose days only because that suits be best. Lately ive heard some rumors in my company that they want to transfer few agency people on night shift im on that list, can they do that without asking me first ? What if i disagre ? I cant work night, what i supose to do ?

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