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Agency Workers Regulations 2010

Key Points

  • The basic purpose of Directive 2008/104/EC on temporary agency work ("AWD") is to ensure that "temporary agency workers" have the same basic employment law rights throughout the EC, that they are not discriminated against because they are temporary workers and to ensure that agencies who supply them are regarded as employers.
  • The Directive was adopted on 19th November 2008 and was implemented by all EU Member States by 5th December 2011.
  • The effect of the Directive and the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, SI 2010/93 in the UK is to implement an agreement reached in May 2008 between the Government, the CBI and the TUC. The agreement was to the effect that after 12 weeks in a given job, an agency worker would be entitled to the same treatment in respect of basic working and employment conditions (notably pay and holiday) as if the worker had been recruited directly by the employer rather than via an agency.
  • Certain limited rights are also available without any minimum qualification period of employment. For example, dismissal for seeking to enforce rights under the 2010 Regulations will generally be automatically unfair dismissal without the period of continuous employment normally required for claiming unfair dismissal.
  • The directive does not apply to any worker introduced by an employment agency to an employer who then employs the worker directly.
  • The Agency Workers Regulations 2010, SI 2010/93 were made on 21st January 2010 and came into force on 1st October 2011. Prior to that, significant amendments were made with effect from 1st October 2010 to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003, SI 2003/3319.
  • The Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019 and The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business (Amendment) Regulations 2019 came into force on 6 April 2020. 
  • Brexit effect - Unless otherwise stated, the position in relation to EU legislation and decisions as set out in this card is as it was understood at the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020. For information on the status of EU decisions and legislation as of 31st December 2020 please see Statement on impact of Brexit on Emplaw Online content

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