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Government consults on implementing Agency Workers Directive

Government consults on implementing Agency Workers Directive

The Government has commenced a consultation exercise on transposing the EC Temporary Agency Workers Directive into domestic law. The consultation seeks views on a number of issues, including the implementation of the 12-week qualifying period, previously agreed by the CBI and the TUC, and how the principle of equal treatment will be implemented.


The Directive requires that temporary agency workers be given equal treatment in comparison to permanent workers as regards basic employment conditions such as pay, working hours and holidays. The Government will, however, make use of a permitted derogation to provide that the equal treatment rule only applies after the agency worker has been in the same job for 12 weeks, as previously agreed by the UK’s social partners, the CBI and the TUC. The Government believes that that this will provide appropriate protection of agency workers whilst maintaining a flexible labour market.


After completing the 12-week qualifying period, an agency worker who remains in a “given job” will be entitled to at least the basic employment conditions relating to working time, including rest breaks and holidays, and pay,  that they would have received if they had been recruited directly by that undertaking to occupy the same job.  The definition of ‘pay’ for the purpose of the equal treatment rule will include basic pay and other contractual entitlements directly linked to the work undertaken by the agency worker, such as overtime, shift allowances and unsocial hours premiums.


The consultation, Employment agencies: Implementation of the agency workers directive, closes on 31 July 2009. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) [formerly the BERR until merged with the DIUS on 8 June 2009] will publish its response before undertaking further consultation on draft Regulations. At that stage it will invite views on any further guidance employers require.


Contact us

For more information about the equality and diversity services the Employment Law Group can offer, please contact

Makbool Javaid
Head of Employment Law
Tel:  020 3206 2745
Mob: 07817 805315

Ewan Keen
Tel: 020 3206 2724
Mob: 07870 942622

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