Agency work: Are you covered under the new rules?
From October 1, those in agency work who complete just 12 weeks in a temporary assignment will be entitled to the same pay and benefits as permanent staff.
This is good news for temps, because, you could be entitled to more pay, annual leave and other benefits – so it’s worth making sure you know whether you are covered by the new rules and what you should get.
Agency Workers Directive
You will be covered by the new Agency Workers Directive if:
- you are a temp hired through a recruitment agency to work for an employer
- you are paid through the PAYE system
- you work under the direct supervision of the company you temp for
Some 1.4m agency workers will be covered by the new rules – if that includes you, here’s a summary of what you can expect to get:
What’s changing from day one of my assignment?
From 1 October and from the first day of any job you are placed in through an agency, the company must provide you with the same access to company facilities and amenities as if you were a permanent member of staff. You will now be entitled to go to the o-site gym, crèche or canteen, for example, and should get access to information about any job vacancies going at the company.
Agency work: What happens after 12 weeks?
After you have worked for the company for 12 weeks in the same role, you will become eligible for some of the same rights as if you had been directly employed by the company. These include:
The same pattern of working hours/ shifts
What’s not included?
Other benefits, including pensions and access to health insurance are not included in the extra benefits temps will be entitled to.
What if my temping assignments are generally shorter than 12 weeks?
You will only be eligible for the new agency worker benefits once you have worked for the same company in the same role for 12 weeks.
If you take a break from your job, which is more than one week and less than seven weeks, then the count of qualifying weeks will pause, resuming once you go back to work.
If the break is due to sick leave or jury service, then the break should be less than 28 weeks.
If you are taking maternity, paternity or adoption leave, you will qualify for the new agency worker rights regardless of these breaks.
If you temp at different employers for assignments lasting 11 weeks or less, you will not be eligible for the new benefits.
Prepare yourself for what’s changing
Find out if your role is included within the scope of the new rules – most agency workers are going to be included, but if an agency worker is genuinely self-employed, or is unsure, then they need to clarify the type of arrangements they are under. If your contract of employment is with a recruitment agency, then we recommend that speak to your agency in the first instance.
Be realistic – don’t expect that your pay will automatically change. In many cases, agency workers are already paid a premium and so there are not likely to be wholesale pay increases across the board.
Work out how your everyday job could change – For example, you may become eligible for a performance-related bonus and be entered into a new appraisal system, similar to permanent employees.