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General Information

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) came into force in the UK on the 1st of October 2011. The AWR is designed to give agency workers the right to equal treatment after 12 calendar weeks ("the qualifying period") in a given job.

The regulations require that

  • an agency worker is to be treated as if he/she had been recruited directly to do the same job in relation to basic employment an working conditions.
  • equal treatment in respect of basic terms and conditions (e.g. pay, overtime, shift allowances, holiday pay, collective agreements). Sick pay, pension arrangements, maternity pay and redundancy pay are not included in the provisions.
  • there is a "day one" entitlement of access to facilities and information on vacant posts.

The Qualifying Period

The agency worker will have the right to equal treatment after 12 calendar weeks irrespective of work pattern (e.g. full-time or part-time). A new qualifying period begins only if a new assignment with the organisation is significantly different, or if there is a break of more than 6 weeks between assignments. If the agency worker takes annual leave or is on certified sick leave the count of the calendar weeks will stop and start again when they resume work.

At the end of the qualifying period within a single assignment, an agency worker can request written information relating to any aspect of equal treatment which they believe that they are not receiving.

Attempts to circumvent the Regulations i.e. by ending an agency worker after 11 weeks and then returning them to a similar role after a 7 weeks period is likely to be seen as unlawful avoidance and may attract a financial penalty of up to £5, 000. This would be in addition to any award in respect of breaching the Regulations in terms of equal treatment.

Current use of Agency Workers at the University

The University currently has a contract with Pertemps for the provision of agency workers however local agencies Brook Street, Search Consultancy and Office Angels are also used. Due to the premium cost of using an agency the recommendation is that agency workers should only be used for very short-term, temporary assignments. However, a recent investigation into the current use of agency workers at the University identified that agency workers are often being used for covering more extended periods i.e. for long term sickness and maternity leave and as such are likely to fall within the scope of the Regulations.

AWR - what will this mean in practice and action to be taken?

  • The University will be required to monitor the use of agency workers much more closely to ensure that we meet the requirements of the legislation.
  • Briefing sheet on the AWR has been sent to managers in Schools and Directorates responsible for recruiting agency workers and they are aware of the new legislation and that further information can be obtained from HR.
  • Records of agency workers will be held by the College/SASS HR office on P3.
  • Standard (HERA) job descriptors and information on University terms and conditions can be provided to agencies. This information is available on the HR website and can be accessed by recruiting departments if contacted directly by the agencies.

Future use of Agency Workers at the University

Schools and Directorates should think carefully about the use of agency workers in their areas and should only really be considering this as an option if there is a need to provide cover at short notice and for a short term period. It is an expensive option if the assignment is anticipated to be long term particularly now with the introduction of the AWR. If there is a requirement for a post on a longer term basis it is recommended that a temporary appointment is made through the standard University recruitment and selection procedures.

Dundee University Temporary Employees - DUTE

It should be noted that Careers Service and HR have recently created DUTE - Dundee University Temporary Employees - a scheme whereby local graduates, existing part-time and casual staff and recently retired staff can register themselves to be available to fill a range of short-term temporary vacancies across the University. An internal supply of temporary staff does not fall within the scope of the Regulations and DUTE will therefore be an efficient and cost effective way for schools and directorates to organise a temporary worker on a short-term basis.

Contract for the provision of recruitment services - temporary staff

The contract period is .

Alternatively you can access information about Pertemps, including how to place an order for a temporary member of staff by clicking on the link below.
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