The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) impacts all organisations that use agency workers. Hirers as well as agencies will be responsible for ensuring equal treatment, therefore you need to take action now to prepare your organisation
Q: What do I need to ensure I have in place?
A: You need to have gather information on Day 1 rights and ensure that these are communicated to your temporary agency workers. You will also need to inform you agency of the relevant comparator rates that become effective after twelve weeks.
Q: How do I identify who the comparator is?
A: To select a comparator for the “Day 1” rights, you need to consider the following:
- The comparator should be doing the same or broadly similar work to the agency worker
- They should be working at the same location as the agency worker or, if there is no such person, be in another location owned by the hirer.
- To establish equal pay and other “Week 12” rights you need to consider how you would treat the agency worker had they been recruited directly. Organisations are advised to look to terms and conditions often set out in employment contracts, company handbooks, pay scales or similar.
Q. What if the agency worker is already paid more than the comparator?
A: This is fine as the agency worker’s rate is already compliant under the AWR. The Regulations don’t work both ways – so if a temp is paid higher than the comparator their rate should not be brought down to the level of the permanent person.
Q: The comparators we’ve identified have a generous benefits package, including an annual bonus scheme, private health insurance, a pension scheme and corporate gym membership. Do I have to give agency workers all of the same benefits?
A: The rights acquired after week 12 of an assignment broadly include pay for work done, and therefore benefits in kind are excluded. For a reminder of what is in and out of scope click here.
Q: My organisation operates formal pay scales. How do I know where on the scale to appoint an agency worker?
A: The key is always to adopt an “as if hired directly” approach: how do you decide where on the scale to appoint a permanent member of staff; are all new hires put on the bottom of a particular scale, or are each employee’s qualifications and experience taken into account? The agency worker should be appointed according to the same rules.
Q: What happens if we have a companywide pay increase?
A: Any agency worker will also be entitled to the increase, providing it is not linked to length of service. The organisation should update the agency on any such increases to ensure that the agency worker is receiving equal treatment throughout the course of their assignment.
Q: Do I need to pay a temporary agency worker for any additional duties that they are expected to do? Will this change after 12 weeks?
A: If the directly employed person is paid for additional duties then you would have to pay temporary workers too. For more information speak to your consultant.
Q: I am concerned about being liable for a claim as our organisation has no real tracking system for temporary workers.
A: Red Eagle will be tracking each agency worker’s length of assignment and recording any known absences that do not count towards the 12 week period. You may find that for many agency workers, their rate is already compliant under the AWR, in which case you do not need to worry about changing the rate at week 12.