What is AWR?
The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) is an EU directive which was implemented in the UK in October 2011. Designed to protect the working and employment conditions of contractors, freelancers and temporary workers, the directive had a wide range of implications for the staffing sector and its supply chain. Since the introduction of AWR, recruitment businesses using non-compliant umbrella companies leave themselves exposed to costly employment tribunals if a claim is upheld.
What are agency workers entitled to?
After a qualifying period of 12 weeks, any agency worker in the UK is entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as they would be if they had been recruited and hired by the client to do the same job. This includes:
Equal pay including holiday pay, bonuses, commission etc.
Equal working time, rest breaks, rest periods, night work and annual leave
Plus, from day one, the client is responsible for making sure all agency workers have access to:
Collective facilities and amenities such as a canteen, childcare facilities and transport facilities
Information regarding relevant permanent vacancies
What does AWR mean for recruitment agencies?
The responsibility for providing the temporary worker with equal rights is split equally between the client, the recruitment agency and the umbrella company. Our compliant models help agencies mitigate the risk and we’ll work with you to make sure we receive the comparative data we need, when we need it to avoid any issues.
Costly financial penalties are in place for any party who breaks, or appears to break the rules. Measures also exist which target clients and agencies who structure assignments deliberately, so a temporary worker doesn’t qualify for equal conditions which they would typically be entitled to after the qualifying period. An example of this could be a contract which includes an artificial ‘break’ with the intention of avoiding the 12 week rule.
It’s important to remember that the 12 week rule includes multiple assignments if it’s the same role with the same client, even if the assignment has come through a different agency. As a recruiter, it’s essential that you have a thorough understanding of where the candidate has been prior to the contract on offer.