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AWR in 60 seconds

The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) must be complied with as of 1st October 2011.

Their core purpose is to align the basic employment conditions (such as pay and holiday entitlement) of temporary workers with those of the permanently
employed staff they work alongside.

Whilst the Regulations don’t change the many benefits to the employer of using agency staff, they do introduce rules and regulations of which all employers must be aware.

Rights to ‘Equal Treatment’ at 12 weeks

When a temporary worker completes a 12-week ‘qualifying period’ (irrespective of how many hours/days worked each week) with the same hirer in the same role, that worker must be treated as if he or she had been recruited directly to do the same job.

The worker then acquires ‘equal treatment’rights which include:

  • Basic pay (including overtime, shift allowances, certain bonuses and benefits in kind)
  • Duration of working time and rest breaks
  • Holiday entitlement

What’s not included:

  • Maternity, paternity and adoption pay
  • Pensions and financial participation schemes
  • Redundancy payments – the AWR does not grant extra employment rights


Rights from Day One

In addition to the rights gained after completing 12 weeks in the same role, all temporary workers are now entitled to certain rights from Day One of their assignment:

  • Access to collective facilities
    e.g. canteen, parking, gym, child care etc.
  • Access to information on job vacancies


‘Anti-Avoidance’ Measures

Anti-avoidance provisions have been put in place to ensure that the Regulations are not abused, for example by means of the worker being moved between different companies in same group. The minimum award will generally be equal to two weeks’ pay (with no maximum), and tribunals can award additional penalties of up to £5,000.


What do I need to do?

It is important to recognise that whilst the responsibility to comply with these Regulations lies principally with the agency – not the hirer – cases brought for noncompliance will be able to include all parties as potentially liable. It is therefore critical that you work only with professional, knowledgeable agencies that are capable of correctly managing the impact of AWR.

N.B. The qualifying period is only broken if a break of 6 weeks or more is taken, or if the worker starts a new role with the same hirer that is genuinely ‘substantively different’ to the previous one.




If you would like any more information on any of the above, please email the AWR team at





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