31 Oct 2011
Agency workers are used as a valuable resource for many employers to fill certain temporary positions without having to go through a sometimes cumbersome recruitment process.
The employer can take relief in that fact that an individuals credentials have been checked out by the recruitment agency and that the individual’s services can be dispensed of easily when they are no longer needed.
The lack of protection afforded to agency workers has been controversial, and parliament has sought to address the unsatisfactory position in which these workers have found themselves.
What has changed?
With effect from 1st October 2011, the Agency Worker Regulations came into force. The Regulations give agency workers the right to the same basic employment and working conditions as if they had been recruited directly by the company
An agency worker is someone who provides work or services to an organisation, but is contracted via an agency rather than the organisation itself.
Over recent years, agency workers have been able to benefit from the national minimum wage, paid holiday and the right not to work more than 48 hours a week on average.
The Agency Workers Regulations are a further significant step in enhancing agency workers’ rights.
This means that after 12 weeks, basic working and employment conditions for temporary agency workers are no less favourable than if they had been recruited direct by the hirer.
Do these changes affect any employee benefits that a company may offer?
It is understood that Group Private Medical Schemes, Health Cash Plans, Group Income Protection Schemes and Group Critical Illness Schemes are not affected by these regulations but the situation regarding Group Life Assurance is not so clear.
At present, the government has not clarified whether Group Life Assurance has to be provided where other employees receive this benefit but it is anticipated that if an employer uses a minimum service period for eligibility to the life assurance scheme, then this would apply to agency workers as well as contracted employees.
The one thing that is absolutely clear is that Legal Advice combined with advice from Wingate Benefit Solutions should be sought in order to clarify the position of a business so that it is aware of its obligations.
We can recommend a variety of Employment Law specialists suited to match the needs of a business.
- Wingate will discuss your business circumstances with you to ensure we identify your specific business needs.
- Based on this research we will provide you with a report confirming the options available and our recommendations without cost or obligation.
If you wish to make changes to your benefits, we will implement these adjustments on your behalf.
Wingate Benefits Solutions is here to assist you with all aspects of Group Risk Benefits. Should you wish to discuss this or any other such matter please contact your Wingate Benefit Solutions adviser on 0844 406 0027.
Tax and legislation are liable to change. This information is based on Wingate Benefits Solutions’ current understanding of UK law and HM Revenue & Customs practice and legislation. No guarantees are given regarding the effectiveness of any arrangements entered into on the basis of the information contained herewith. It is recommended that professional advice is sought prior to entering into any financial arrangement.