Agency Workers Gaining Additional Rights 
New legislation coming into force on Saturday will see agency workers gaining additional rights in pay and benefits.

Agency workers will be entitled to similar rights to permanent staff, as of October 1, after they have completed 12 weeks of service in a temporary job role.

These include pay, overtime, shift allowances, holiday pay and bonuses attributable to individual performance, as well as maternity rights.

The rules are being brought in after long negotiations between unions and the Government.

Stefan Martin, an employment lawyer with law firm Allen & Overy, said: "It won't give them equal rights in terms of protection from dismissal."

"What it is going to give them is equal rights in relation to pay and other basic employment rights.

"It's going to be extra basic pay, [and] extra shift allowances potentially, where those workers are not paid at the same level as the equivalent permanent employee.”

Various legal protections are already in place for agency workers, which include the minimum wage and basic holiday rights. However, under the new European rules, agency workers will also be entitled to the use of the same facilities as staff.

From the first day of employment, they can use a creche, canteen or transport services. They will also be entitled to information about internal vacancies at the company they are working for, and to be given the opportunity to apply for them.

Business groups suggest the new rules will cost firms up to £2bn a year, with concern that the new legislation will lead to more red tape for already struggling small firms who depend on agency workers.

There have also been fears that some agency workers will simply be laid-off after 11 weeks so they do not benefit from the increased rights.

Agency workers, however, will not be entitled to all the same benefits, such as occupational sick pay, redundancy pay and health insurance.

For more information, please visit www.harwoodhutton.co.uk

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