Workers Rights; in particular those of agency workers; are slightly different to those of an employee’s. You are an Agency worker if you are contracted with an Agency but then temporarily work for an employer. Whilst you are working for the employer you will be instructed by the employer right than your Agency.
The most important difference between workers rights and employee’s rights are:
- If you are dismissed from your employment you are unable to make a claim for unfair dismissal.
- You are not entitled to statutory redundancy pay.
- You are not entitled to maternity/paternity/parental/adoption leave.
- You are not entitled to a written statement of your main terms of contract.
What Workers Rights are there?
So although workers rights exclude the ones mentioned above there are still a significant number of rights that they do have and they are not completely at the mercy of their employers or agency. These are all statutory rights (legally required in law) and are the minimum required. Your contract with the agency might of course give you more beneficial terms but they will not be protected by statute. There rights are as follows.
- They have the right to be paid the minimum wage. This currently stands at £6.19 for those aged 21+ (This figure is correct as of 17 September 2013) but will rise to £6.31 in October 2013. You also have the right not to have your pay suffer unlawful deductions as laid out in the Employment Rights Act 1996
- Workers also have the right not to suffer discrimination (be it indirect or direct, victimisation or harassment) under any of the protected characteristics laid out in the Equality Act 2010. These protected characteristics are Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex, or Sexual orientation. (This also includes the right not to be discriminated against if you work part time)
- Under the Working Time Regulations you have the right not to have to work excessive hours. (In this case it is set at 48 hours in any 7 day period, although employers can ask the employee to sign away their right to this maximum working week)
- Also under the Working Time Regulations you have the right to paid holiday, this is set at 5.6 weeks worth of holiday if you work full time (if you work part time you will have a right to a proportion of the 5.6 weeks)
- Workers have the right to be accompanied when they attend a disciplinary or grievance hearing. This is protected under the Employee Relations Act 1999
- Workers also have the right not to suffer dismissal or suffer a detriment (such as bullying or harassment) due to making a protected disclosure (which is also known as whistle blowing). Whistle blowing includes reporting on things which are illegal or which affect your employment rights. Often this includes things like health and safety issues or not being paid the minimum wage. This is protected under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.
- You have the right to unpaid parental leave (provided you meet the required conditions) and are allowed to request flexible working time in line with those who are classed as employees when you return from parental leave.
- There are also workers rights that as long as they meet the qualifying criteria they are entitled to statutory sick pay, statutory maternity pay, statutory adoption pay and statutory paternity pay.
Additional Workers Rights
On top of the workers rights detailed above there are a few further rights that have been enacted that can be of a significantly beneficial nature to a worker. These additional workers rights are as follows.
- There is now a right that from the first day in your temporary job you are able to use any of the facilities that the employer has. This can be anything from the canteen to a creche or nursery.
- A worker is also now able to request any information about workplace facilities and also request information about any vacancies that may be available within the company.
- If you are a pregnant worker and have been there for 12 weeks or more you are able to take paid time off to attend ante-natal appointments.
- The Final additional right that workers now have is that after 12 weeks or more of employment, you are entitled to the same basic pay and working conditions as permanent employees. This means that you should be getting the same pay as if you had been recruited directly by the company including allowances such as overtime, unsocial hour bonuses, contractual holiday pay etc. With regard to conditions this means you should be working a similar number of hours and shifts compared to a directly recruited employee, you should be getting the same level of rest breaks as permanent employees as well.
If you feel that as an agency worker and your workers rights are being infringed please contact us on 0800 014 8727 and we will be able to supply some free initial advice.