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Careers Toolkit

Agency Workers
A candidate's guide to

Agency Workers Regulations

The Agency Workers Regulations derive from European legislation designed to give temporary agency workers parity in pay and employment conditions as they would have been entitled to had they been recruited by the hirer directly to do the same job. 

The Regulations apply to workers who: 

  1. Are employed by, or have a contract to work for, a temporary work agency 
  2. Work on assignment for and under the direction of a hirer 
  3. Are not genuinely in business on their own account. 

The following workers are outside the scope of the Regulations - workers who:

  1. Genuinely carry out a business undertaking or profession on their own account 
  2. Use an employment agency to find permanent employment with a third party 
  3. Become a permanent employee of the agency (see Regulation 10) 

From day one of their work placement all agency workers should be treated no less favourably than a comparable employee in the hirer’s establishment in relation to amenities and facilities such as: 

  1. Access to canteen or other similar facilities 
  2. Access to child care facilities 
  3. Access to the provision of transport services. 

Agency Workers are entitled to be informed by the hirer of any vacancies in order to have the same opportunity as comparable employees to find permanent employment. 

To qualify for the same Pay & Basic Employment Conditions an Agency Worker must have: 

  1. Completed 12 calendar weeks of work with the same hirer undertaking the same role on one or more assignments (the ‘qualifying period’) 
  2. Have not had a break of over 6 weeks during that qualifying period as these would break the continuity of service. Please note there are: 

a) some circumstances where absences ‘pause’ rather than break continuity – these include a break during or between assignments of 

ii) less than 28 weeks where the worker has been incapable of work through sickness, injury, jury service, etc. 

iii) time off or leave to which they were entitled (annual leave) 


b) certain circumstances where despite a break, continuity continues during absence, such as 

i) less than 26 weeks for pregnancy/maternity leave and paternity leave.

For more information on the Agency Workers Regulations contact your branch consultant. 

Please note: The Agency Workers Regulations came into effect from 1st October 2011 and is not retrospective. Therefore qualification starts occurring from that date. 

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