Employment law

Temporary and agency workers' rights

If you're an agency worker, you've a number of important rights from day one and acquire even more after 12 weeks with the same company. Explore your rights now, as well as what to do if they aren't being respected.

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Employment law solicitors

Slater and Gordon's experienced solicitors are here to advise you on all aspects of your rights as a temporary worker. Call us on 0330 041 5869 or contact us and we'll call you.

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What are my rights as a temporary agency worker?

It's a sad fact of life that agency workers are seldom treated as well as permanent staff. Having said that, agency workers - also commonly referred to as temps or temporary workers - now have greater rights than ever before. In fact, even if you're a temporary worker, you have a number of important rights from the day you start a new engagement and acquire equivalent rights to permanent staff once you've worked in the same job for 12 weeks continuously. As an agency worker, you always have the right to:

  • Be paid at least the minimum wage
  • Not have unlawful deductions taken from your wages
  • Not be discriminated against because of sex, age, gender reassignment, disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation
  • To enjoy statutory rest breaks
  • To have access to employee areas including canteens
  • To have a limit on the hours you work every week
  • To enjoy unpaid parental leave if you qualify
  • To ask for flexible working after parental leave
  • To receive statutory sick pay, statutory maternity pay, statutory adoption pay and statutory paternity pay if you qualify
  • To be kept safe at work
  • To take certain claims to an employment tribunal

If you're working as an agency worker and believe that these rights are being infringed, you may wish to talk to one of our experienced employment law solicitors.

What is a pay between assignments contract?

In some cases, temporary or agency workers don't only get paid when they're on an assignment; you may be offered what's known as a pay between assignments contract. This can seem attractive, as it means that once an assignment has finished, the agency will continue to pay you until another assignment is available.

In effect, you become an employee of the agency, but with two main disadvantages, namely that:

  • The actual figure for your pay between assignments will only be 50% of the pay you received for your most recent assignment, or the national minimum wage for the hours worked in that assignment; whichever is greater
  • When you're on assignment, you'll acquire the same employment rights as other workers once you've completed 12 weeks in the same role – such as holiday accrual and working hours - but you won't automatically be entitled to receive the same pay

While you may be tempted by the thought of getting paid between actual assignments, there can be a significant trade-off between pay security and actual levels of pay once you've signed one of these contracts. It's also worth bearing in mind that the agency can choose to end your contract after as little as four weeks between working assignments, making the comfort of 'guaranteed income' far less comfortable than you might wish.

If you're considering signing a pay between assignments contract or have already signed one and feel that your rights are being infringed, talk to one of our experienced employment law solicitors. Call us on 0330 041 5869 or contact us and we'll call you.

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