Are you aware of the new Agency Workers Regulations that come into effect on 1 October 2011? If you're not, you're not alone!
These new Regulations have received very little publicity but from 1 October workers supplied to a company (or any entity) by an agency will become entitled to receive equivalent pay and basic working conditions to any directly employed employees after a 12 week qualifying period. The 12 weeks will commence from 1 October 2011 for existing agency workers. A break of more than six weeks between assignments with the same employer will be necessary for the rights not to be available.
From day one the agency workers will have an entitlement to access employer supplied facilities such as canteens and childcare.
It's possible that many of those who make use of agency workers will see their charges increase as the new Regulations take effect. Where it is likely that a temporary worker will benefit from the Regulations, the agencies supplying the workers will also require the hiring entity to provide more information about pay and basic working conditions. Breaches of the Regulations may be dealt with by Employment Tribunals, although the involvement of ACAS is of course encouraged prior to taking this step.
As you can see, those who make use of agency workers need to be aware of these changes, as do those who may be thinking about taking agency workers on in the future. Comprehensive guidance has been published by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills) and is available here if you would like to find out more.