Agency Worker Regulations are coming into force in October and they are going to put new obligations on employers and those that are found to be avoiding their obligations will be facing fines of £5,000. The regulations essentially say that people who come to work for a company through a temporary workers agency will be entitled to the same facilities as permanent employees have. This might include access to parking or a canteen.
After three months the entitlement for temporary workers also increases and they will be allowed to have the same working and employment conditions as the permanent staff members. The will not, however be entitled to extra benefits like health insurance.
A recent survey has found that nearly eighty per cent of small to medium sized companies in the UK are going to be looking at keeping the same amount, or increasing, the number of staff they are getting from temporary agencies. Those companies that fail to comply with the regulations or are found to be deliberately trying to get around them will face hefty fines.
Employers will be at further risk if the employee takes them to an employment tribunal, here they can face fines that are potentially unlimited. Companies will be forced to give compensation if the working conditions are not equalised within twelve weeks.
Dickson Dees LLP, the law firm has said, “Employers must be aware of the extent of these penalties. Companies are not just going to be fined on an overall basis; they will be fined for every temporary employee who is not getting the same rights. This can mean not following the regulations can be very expensive.
“Most small business are going to have to be very careful here to avoid the fines. Most smaller companies do not have a dedicated HR person so the manager of the business is going to have to be careful to monitor how long they have hired their temporary employees for. This is going to change the market for employers because soon hiring temporary workers is going to be as expensive as having permanent staff.”