Who is an agency worker?
You’re an agency worker if you have a contract with an agency but you work temporarily for a hirer or if you look for work through entertainment and modelling agencies.
You’re not an agency worker if you use an agency to find permanent or fixed-term employment.
What is an agency?
Agencies can include recruitment agencies, for example ‘temp agencies’.
Recruitment agencies cannot charge you a fee for finding or trying to find you work but can for certain services eg. CV writing, training or transport.
You have the right to cancel these as long as you give notice within the prescribed period (10 working days’ written notice to the agency to cancel living accommodation and 5 working days’ notice for all other services, such as training courses).
Before you’re offered a job
Before looking for work for you, your agency must give you:
- Information about the work they’re trying to find you
- a key information document which is a short explanation of how you’ll be paid, who will pay you, pay rate, fees, benefits and what deductions will be applied.
- Your agency does not have to give you a key information document if you’ve already agreed on the terms of engagement with them before 6 April 2020.
- Written terms of engagement – often known as a contract which would include information about whether you’re employed under a contract for services or a contract of employment, notice period, pay, holiday entitlement, start date, type of work, length of the contract, any expenses, location, hours, health and safety risks, experience and training or qualifications needed for the role.
An agency cannot change your terms and conditions without telling you. If you agree to changes, you must be given a new document with the full details of the changes and the date they changed.
An agency cannot give information about you to any third parties (including current employers or hirers) without your permission.
- From the day you start work you have a worker’s employment rights. You also have the same rights as your permanent colleagues to use any shared facilities and services provided by your employer.
- After 12 weeks in the job you qualify for the same rights as someone employed directly. This is known as ‘equal treatment’ which includes ‘equal pay’ – the same pay as a permanent colleague doing the same job, automatic pension enrolment, paid annual leave. You do not have to be at work for 12 weeks in a row – some types of leave count and there can be breaks. The qualifying period will pause for sick leave or breaks. Do not count days on sick leave or a break. Your 12 week qualifying period will continue through time off you have for pregnancy, paternity or adoption.
- Start from zero for a new job role
Your 12 weeks will start again if you get a new job at a different workplace, have a break of more than 6 weeks between jobs at the same workplace, stay at your workplace but take a new role that’s ‘substantively different’(A substantively different role is one that’s completely new, different work. It could be a combination of different skills, or requiring new training, pay rate, location or work hours)
You’re entitled to the National Minimum Wage for all the hours you work, even if you have not recorded them on a timesheet.
After 12 weeks you’re entitled to be paid the same as a permanent employee doing the same job. Your agency should contact you to explain that after 12 weeks you’re entitled to the same pay as a permanent employee doing the same job.
If your agency withholds your pay
- Your agency can delay paying you while they get proof of the hours you worked, but only for a reasonable period of time.
- Your agency cannot refuse to pay you because your hirer’s unhappy with your work – this is a contractual issue between your agency and the hirer.
- You can make a claim to an employment tribunal if your agency is refusing to pay you.
You may be able to get Statutory Maternity Pay, but you cannot get Statutory Maternity Leave. As an agency worker, you have an employee’s pregnancy rights after working in your role for 12 weeks. Contact Acas if you believe you’ve been discriminated against on the grounds of maternity.
If there’s a risk to your health
Your hirer should make reasonable adjustments so you can do your job. If this isn’t possible your agency must find you alternative work or pay you at the same rate for the expected length of your contract.
After 12 weeks on the job, you can get paid time off to go to ‘antenatal care’ if you cannot arrange it outside working hours. Antenatal care includes antenatal classes, appointments and parenting classes if they’ve been recommended by a doctor or midwife. You must also be paid for the travel time if it’s during working hours.
Entertainment and modelling agencies
Entertainment and modelling agencies can charge you a fee or percentage for finding you work or to publish your details online or in a publication. They must tell you in writing if a fee is involved.
The agency must show you what it plans to publish about you before it’s published. You then have up to 7 days after the cooling-off period to say if you do not want the information to be published. If you’re happy, you must pay after 7 days. If the agency charged you but did not publish your name, you have the right to a refund for up to 60 days. Contact Acas if you believe you’ve been charged unfairly.
For expert assistance regarding employment law, agency workers rights or drafting entertainment agency contracts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp us on 07583452230 and we can connect you to the right professional. Visit www.bizlawuk.co.uk to find out more about how we can help you with our other services. If you find this information useful, please follow our social media platforms, like and share.