Companies could be hit hard by changes to agency workers law

October 1st is going to bring a shock to many businesses across the country as temporary workers are about to have their rights significantly extended. The Agency Worker Regulations are going to mean that a large number of the limited rights of agency workers are going to be extended. A report from Bibby, the research and consultancy company has said that companies should be ready for the change.

The company has said that this is going to change how companies treat temporary workers enormously. The regulations have been brought in to give temporary workers more of the same rights that are enjoyed by full time staff members of businesses. There are two different sets of additional rights that are coming into place – those that are available to temporary workers after the first day, and those that will come into force after twelve weeks of employment.

The one day regulations say that temporary workers should be entitled to the same facilities that permanent staff are from the moment they start working. This can include use of a companies catering facilities as well as transport and childcare provisions. They must also be told of any internal vacancies as soon as they arise.

While these might seem like significant rights, even more important ones take effect after 12 weeks. The previous set of regulations were established and these are superseded by the new laws. These entitle agency workers to the same rights as permanent staff in regard to annual leave, night work, working hours and rest periods. Importantly they are now to be given the same rate of pay as permanent staff – including bonuses and commissions.

Also, should temporary workers feel their rights under the new regulations have been breached, they will be able to take their case to an employment tribunal and remedies could include compensatory payments.

Michael Slade, Managing Director of Bibby Consulting & Support states: “If you are an employment agency or an organisation that uses or plans on using agency staff, you really need to understand how the regulations will impact on you.

“Should employers not familiarise themselves with these new rules they could be in for quite a shock when seeking temporary workers because they may be faced with additional expenditure in an already tight economic climate.”

Slade added: “Also, employment agencies and employers could be leaving their companies exposed to employment tribunal claims for breaching a worker’s rights by non-compliance. As such, it is imperative that businesses ensure every manager responsible for the hiring of staff is fully up to speed with the changes.