Agency Workers Regulations, or AWR as it is widely known, is a piece of EU legislation that came into effect on the 1st October 2011 to help protect agency workers rights. It has impacted massively on recruitment agencies and the UK’s 1.4 million strong temporary workers, many of whom work through them.
What are the regs?
After a qualifying period of 12 weeks, any temporary worker is now entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as they would be if they had been hired by the client to do the same job as a permanent member of staff. These conditions include basic pay, commission, overtime, working hours, annual leave entitlement, breaks and opportunities for training.
What happens if we don’t comply?
If your agency is paying a temporary worker via your own PAYE scheme and the temp doesn’t get what they’re now entitled to, then you could find yourselves in a tribunal claims court facing a back dated pay bill or fines. And as you know, ignorance is no defence.
And if the tribunal claim is upheld?
Minimum compensation equivalent to at least two weeks’ pay will be awarded to the wronged contractor. Plus, if it’s found that between you, you’ve been trying to structure temporary contracts to try to get round the legislation, then it could mean a fine of up to £5,000.
What is Originem’s response?
In our opinion, AWR isn’t going anywhere, and it’s not something that we’d even attempt to skirt around. We’re more than happy to fully comply with the regulations – in fact, we’ve a couple of robust contract solutions ready and waiting to be applied (depending on the assignment length and worker’s rate of pay):
The Swedish Derogation model places temporary workers outside of the AWR in terms of pay, as Originem employs them on your behalf. We assume responsibility for employment risk and providing pay between contracts, holidays and pensions. In addition to mitigating risk for your company, the temporary workers we employ receive legitimate extra benefits that result in an uplift in take-home pay.
Our code of conduct
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Parity of Pay
Using this model, temporary workers are also employed by Originem on your behalf. Then after the qualifying period of 12-weeks, we put the contractor on the same rate of pay as their permanent equivalents’ Parity of Pay works best if Originem, as employer, can guarantee that the temporary workers are already paid more and therefore no rate adjustments will be needed; or when the contract is going to be for less than 12 weeks, in which case AWR doesn’t apply.