Agency Workers to Gain Equal Treatment


The Government has confirmed that legislation implementing EU Directive 2008/104/EC, usually referred to as the ‘Agency Workers Directive’, will not come into force in the UK until 1 October 2011 after a delay because 
the Government is ‘mindful of the need to avoid changing requirements on business until the economic recovery is more firmly established’ and that the delay will afford ‘recruiters and their clients time to prepare and plan’.
The effect of the Agency Workers Regulations will be to provide equal treatment for temporary agency workers, compared with permanent workers, in terms of basic working and employment conditions (including pay, holidays, working time, rest periods and maternity leave). In the UK, the current intention is that agency workers will acquire these rights once they have been in a given job for 12 weeks.
Other benefits that agency workers will gain from the first day of their assignment include:
  • information about vacancies so that they have the same opportunity as other workers to find permanent employment;
  • equal access to on-site facilities, such as child care and transport services; and
  • improved rights to protect the health and safety of new and expectant mothers, including the right to reasonable time off work to attend ante-natal appointments and adjustments to working conditions and working hours.
The Draft Agency Workers Regulations 2010 can be found on the BERR website.

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