Agencies and Employers’ Responsibilities
Some employers will use the services of an agency to help them take on full-time staff or part-time workers.
As a rule, these types of ’employment businesses’ (not the employers) will have the responsibility of paying the workers.
Note: Agencies must use GLAA licensed workers if they are providing ‘gangmasters’ for certain industries, such as agriculture, food processing, horticultural, and shellfish-gathering.
The main responsibilities for businesses and self-employed people who use temporary workers, include:
- Ensuring their access to the same shared facilities as other ‘permanent’ workers.
- Keeping them informed about any relevant job vacancies that become available in the business.
- Providing and managing an adequate level of workplace health and safety.
There is no legal requirement for any employer in the United Kingdom to provide work for an agency worker – unless they are have ‘employed status‘.
Note: Using a recruitment agency to replace employees or workers taking industrial action is a criminal offence.
Agency Workers Rights after 12 Weeks
Agency workers will get additional rights after completing twelve (12) weeks in the same job. As a result, they have entitlement to the same terms and conditions as any other employees who do the same work (or similar), including:
- Annual leave (e.g. holiday entitlement)
- Night work
- Time off for antenatal appointments for pregnant workers
- Working time (including rest periods and breaks)
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has further guidance for hirers of agency workers and the recruitment sector to understand the new Agency Workers Regulations 2010.
Agency Transfer Fees
In most cases, recruitment agencies (employment businesses) will charge a transfer fee for their services, such as if:
- The employer starts employing the worker ‘directly’.
- Another agency supplies a worker to the employer after agreeing their initial contract.
Even so, the agency can only charge transfer fees if the employer takes on the worker in either of the following periods (whichever one ends later):
- Fourteen (14) weeks of the start of the first assignment.
- Eight (8) weeks of the end of an assignment.
Complaining about a Recruitment Agency
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) have further advice and information on how to complain about a recruitment agency.