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The main principle underpinning the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) is to provide agency workers with equal treatment in terms of 'basic pay and working conditions' as received by permanent employees and direct recruits after 12 weeks of service with the same hirer in the same role.

The meaning of Agency Worker is an individual who is: 

  • supplied by an agency to work for and under the direction of a hirer
  • employed or otherwise engaged by the agency

Assignment length

  • For assignments up to 12 weeks: no change as far as pay is concerned
  • For assignments over 12 weeks:  known as the qualifying period, agency workers will be entitled to equal treatment

The 12 week period will be regardless of working pattern e.g. part-time/full-time. A new qualifying period will begin only if a new assignment with the same hirer is substantively different, with a minimum six week break between assignments in the same job before the 12 week clock can start again.

What is Equal Treatment?

After the “qualifying period” the agency worker will be entitled to “same basic working and employment conditions” as he/she would receive if hired to do same job under a contract of employment with hirer.

What are considered to be basic working and employment conditions?

The basic working and employment conditions will be those that are ordinarily incorporated into contracts of employment of the employees of the hirer relating to; Pay, the duration of working time, the length of night work, rest periods, rest breaks and annual leave.

Definition of pay includes?

Pay will include Basic pay and additional entitlements that are linked to the work undertaken by the agency worker during an assignment and if provided by the client will include:

  • Basic Hourly Rate
  • Overtime rates
  • Shift allowances/Unsocial hours premiums
  • Payments for difficult/dangerous duties
  • Holiday pay
  • Bonuses that are directly attributable to the quality and quantity of work produced by the agency worker  (profit schemes will be excluded)

Excluded Terms include:

  • Occupational Sick Pay;
  • Occupational Pension Schemes;
  • Occupational maternity, paternity & adoption leave (SMP payable);
  • Redundancy Pay;
  • Bonuses not directly attributed to the amount or quality of work  e.g. company discretionary bonus;
  • Payment or reward made under a financial participation scheme  e.g. share ownership schemes;
  • Payment for time off for carrying out Trade Union activities
  • Guarantee payment under section 28 of the 1996 Act;
  • Financial loans or wage advancements;
  • Expenses incurred by the worker in carrying out the employment (e.g. mileage) – some clients may request or agree to reimburse mileage – this is permissible but they are not obliged to under the scope of the act);
  • Payment to the worker otherwise than in that persons capacity as a worker

Rights from day one:

Under the Regulations agency workers are entitled to some rights from day one of their assignment:

Hirers must provide agency workers with access to the same information about any relevant internal vacancies that is made available to employees.

Agency workers will also be entitled to access to collective facilities such as:

    • Crèche and childcare facilities
    • Canteen facilities
    • Car parking and;
    • The provision of transport services

Access to these facilities can be refused if there are ‘objective grounds’ for doing so.  Agency workers are not automatically entitled to access such services above those of permanent employees but are subject to the same criteria to access facilities as someone directly recruited by the hirer.  For example, if there is a waiting list for childcare places they do not automatically have a right to a place – they will take their place on the list the same as any other employee.

Hewett Recruitment have invested in robust new management systems to enable us to work within the new regulations and have been working closely with our clients helping them assess the impact of these new Regulations. If you would like to discuss the AWR in more detail and how it may impact on your usage of temporary workers, please contact Louise to arrange an appointment. Email:

Downloadable File:  BIS Guidance