Agency Workers’ Regulations Come into Force in October 2011

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Many companies had hoped that the new Government would amend or even scrap the controversial Agency Workers’ Regulations 2010 (AWR) but these hopes were dashed during October when a Government spokesman said that it would be too difficult to “unpick the agreement with trade unions” which led to the new law. From 1st October, 2011, the regulations will ensure equal treatment for agency workers in respect of their basic working and employment conditions in comparison with permanent employees. This will apply once a temporary worker has completed 12 weeks in an assignment. An agency worker is defined under the AWR as an individual supplied by an agency to work temporarily for the hirer or an individual supplied via an intermediary (such as master and neutral vendors and so called “umbrella” companies). The genuinely self-employed and limited company contractors will not be covered by the AWR. The basic terms and conditions that will fall within the scope of these regulations are:
  • Basic salary
  • Company holiday entitlement in excess of statutory entitlement
  • Overtime payments
  • Unsociable hours payments, eg shift allowances
  • Restrictions on night work
  • Rest breaks
  • Vouchers or stamps with monetary value such as childcare vouchers
  • Personal performance bonus
However the following will not fall within the scope of these regulations:
  • Company sick pay in excess of statutory entitlement
  • Bonus based upon company performance
  • Company share or profit related schemes
  • Notice or redundancy pay
  • Occupational pension contributions or schemes
  • Company maternity, paternity or adoption pay in excess of statutory entitlement

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