Legal Protection for Agency Workers

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The Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012 was signed into law on 16 May 2012.

Agency workers are entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as if they had been hired directly by a company under a contract of employment.  This means agency workers are entitled to be treated the same as employees in terms of:

  • Pay.  This includes basic pay, shift premium, overtime, unsocial hours worked and Sunday work
  • Annual leave
  • Public holidays
  • Rest breaks
  • Night work

The right to equal pay took effect from 5 December 2011, therefore agency workers are entitled to this right back-dated to that date.

Agency workers are also entitled to equal access to facilities such as canteens, car parking, child care, transport, workplace gyms, shower rooms, vending machines and common rooms.

Agency workers are also entitled to the same access to information on job vacancies as permanent employees.

A company who engages agency workers (referred to as the “hirer” in the law) must provide the employment agency with the information to show that they are complying with the law.

If you are an employer who uses the services of an agency, you should review your documentation with the agency to make sure you are complying with laws in this area.  You should also find out if anybody in your workforce is affected by the new laws; you could use a workforce audit to do this.  You should also appoint a person in your organisation to take responsibility for communicating with the agency.

If you have any questions in relation to Employment Law, please contact Helen Coughlan on 045 431542.

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