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October 18, 2011

Employers’ guide to temp worker rights published

Employers uncertain of their responsibilities under the new agency worker rules can check their obligations, following the publication of a free guide by Acas.

Since 1 October, agency workers who have been in the same role as comparable employees for at least 12 weeks are entitled to the same terms and conditions, including pay and holidays.

The Acas online guidance explains the circumstances under which temp staff are entitled to these rights. For example, that the 12-week qualifying period doesn’t have to be continuous if the worker takes annual leave or sickness absence.

"Businesses really need to make sure that they have a handle on these changes," said Acas chief executive John Taylor. "It's not something to think about down the line and get it wrong, as it can be costly to your business.

"Some employers may try to get round the regulations by hiring and rehiring temps on a succession of shorter periods," he added. "But they need to be careful of the many provisos within the new law. We would always urge employers to take a fair approach as the basis for any workplace relations."

Recruitment agencies estimate there are around 1.4 million temps in the UK, 4 per cent of the UK’s workforce.