AWR advice for agency workers

 

What exactly is the AWR?

The fundamental principle of the AWR is to provide agency workers with the same basic working and employment conditions of that of a comparable permanent employee (essentially an employee doing the same, or similar job as you) after a qualifying period; this being just 12 weeks (during one or more assignments). After this qualifying period, the agency worker would have the right to the following conditions;

> Equal Pay to that of a comparable employee
> Commissions, bonuses and over time rates
> Annual leave
> Night work
> Rest periods and breaks

NB: In the event that you actually receive better conditions than a comparable employee (e.g. pay), the regulations wouldn't require your pay to be brought in line with that of the comparable employees.
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What the AWR doesn't cover...

> Pensions
> Redundancy payouts
> Occupational sick pay
> Share schemes
> Loyalty schemes or long term-service rewards
> Any payment relating to maternity, paternity or adoption leave

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From the 1st October you will be entitled to "Day 1" rights which consist of the following:

> to be informed of any relevant vacancies within a hirer's organisation
> access to collective facilities and amenities provided by the hirer (eg car parking, gym membership).

After 12 weeks you will be entitled to the following:

> equal pay
> equal working conditions (duration of working time, night work, rest periods, rest breaks and paid annual leave)

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Something called Swedish Derogation can actually remove the requirement for your employer (i.e. agency or umbrella company) to pay you the same rate as that of a comparable employee.

To put it simply, if you are paid under a Swedish Derogation model, there is no need for your employer to ensure your pay is equal to that of a comparable employee (i.e. someone doing similar work to yourself).

HOWEVER, on the flip side, your employer has a duty to find you suitable work and also pay you between your assignments (i.e. if you finish your contract, your temporary worker agency MUST pay you a minimum of 50% of the basic pay that you received within the last 12 weeks of their assignments). The payment must not be less than minimum wage and should be for a period of up to 4 weeks in any 12 month period.

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How will this affect you as a temporary worker?

According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, the AWR will leave approximately 40-50% of agency workers running over the 12 week qualifying period, which would give them the same rights to basic working conditions of a comparable employee. However, the majority of agency workers are paid more than an equivalent permanent employee, thus the right to equal pay would not be necessary in most instances.

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Is anyone excluded from the regulations?

An individual that is genuinely self-employed or in business on their own account will not fall within the scope of the agency workers regulations.

Limited Company contractors will be excluded from the regulations where the contract the individual has with the temporary work agency has the effect that the status of the temporary agency/ end client is that of a client or customer of the limited company or self employed contractor.

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Summary

Whether you work through an umbrella company, directly with an end client or even through your own limited company, it is important that you understand the fundamental principles of AWR and how it could affect you. Although commendable, the AWR is not suitable for all types of agency worker and in the majority of instances, it will not have much impact on agency workers as in most instances equal treamtment is already present.

If you are still unsure about what AWR is, please call Danbro for FREE ADVICE on 01253 600140.