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Agency workers

Overview
The rights of temporary staff supplied by employment agencies will depend on their employment status - as either employee or worker.

Key points

  • The rights of temporary staff supplied by employment agencies will depend on their employment status.
  • A temporary worker may or may not be an employee of the employment agency through which they are allocated work. Their status will depend on the terms of their contract and the nature of the working relationship.
  • It is possible for an individual working through a limited company to assert that they are an employee of the organisation for which they work, provided certain key criteria are met.

Recent developments

Government response to Matthew Taylor review

During 2017, Matthew Taylor published a review which, amongst other things, suggested that 'pay between assignments' legislation should be repealed to remove the ability for agencies to bypass the entitlement to equal pay once an agency worker reached 12 weeks in an assignment. The government stated they would respond to the review by the end of 2017, although this was delayed to the beginning of 2018.

The government has now released their response to the Taylor report and have announced they will assess whether 'Swedish Derogation' model contracts are being abused. Depending on the outcome of the review, the government will either introduce state enforcement of these contracts through the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate or repeal the derogation. A consultation will also be carried out on increasing transparency in contractual arrangements for agency workers as well as whether a 'right to request' a more stable contract should be introduced.