In this alert we outline the main changes in UK employment law this October. The most notable piece of legislation coming into force this October is the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, but there are quite a few possible changes afoot. These include a forthcoming increase to the qualifying period for employees to bring unfair dismissal claims from one year to two years, as well as introducing fees for lodging employment tribunal claims.
Agency Workers Regulations
On 1 October 2011, the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 will come into effect. These controversial new regulations (the Regulations) will have a dramatic impact on the relationship between agency workers, agencies and hirers. They will provide increased protection to agency workers, giving them from day one equal access to facilities and amenities at work and the right to receive information about new positions within the hirer. Most importantly, after working for a qualifying period of twelve weeks, agency workers also have the same right to basic working and employment conditions as those enjoyed by workers recruited directly by the hirer. Both the hirer and the recruitment agency may be liable for breach, depending on the type of claim.
What you should be doing:
- make an assessment of the skills required for roles carried out by your agency workers and your employees to assess whether the agency workers have an appropriate comparator for the purposes of the Regulations;
- carry out an audit of your agency workers, paying particular attention to their basic terms of employment, and comparing them to the terms of “comparable” employees;
- provide to agencies appropriate information of comparable workers (including standard terms of employment, pay scales and holiday entitlements);
- put in place HR systems to accurately calculate the qualifying period for each agency worker;
- consider mechanisms to mitigate the impact of the Regulations and take advice as necessary.
For more information concerning the basic rights of hirers and agency workers, please see our client alert.