Workplace rights: Agency workers

Controversial legal rights for employment agency workers came into force on 1 October, with far-reaching implications both for the UK's temporary work industry and companies that rely on it (described as 'hirers').

by Michael Burd and James Davies
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Based on a European directive, the regulations require all agency staff to be treated the same as other workers in relation to 'collective' facilities and amenities (eg canteen, childcare and car parking). They must also be told of any vacancies in the hirer's organisation. Even more significantly, after 12 weeks in a particular role, temps will be entitled to the same pay and other basic working conditions as a comparable directly employed worker. While the agency will be primarily liable for any breach of the equal treatment rule, hirers can also be sued if they have failed to provide accurate, up-to-date information about terms and conditions. Organisations should urgently review their usage of temporary staff, consider what practical systems will be needed for sharing information with agencies and get ready to negotiate hard to avoid paying over the odds for supplied labour in future.

- Michael Burd and James Davies, Lewis Silkin LLP solicitors, email:

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