UC Contractors and the Agency Workers Regulations

What is AWR?

AWR stands for Agency Workers Regulations (2010) and is a legislation designed specifically to protect agency workers from any discrimination in favour of permanent co-workers in the same role at the end client. Issues addressed by this legislation include pay rate, access to holidays and working time conditions.

Agency Worker vs Permanent Employee

Imagine this scenario: one permanent employee is sitting beside an agency worker; both carrying out the same work but treated differently, with one having access to certain company facilities and benefits and the other not. Is that fair? Obviously not.

Thanks to this legislation, from day one of your assignment you can use eating and social areas, the canteen, parking spaces, changing rooms and any other facilities that full time employees have access to.

As with permanent employees, an agency worker is also entitled to obtain information of any internal vacancies and can apply should they wish to do so.

‘Qualifying Period’

Following 12 weeks in the same role with the same client, agency workers are able to access equal pay and basic working rights, such as annual leave, rest breaks, time off for ante-natal appointments and many other benefits.

However, it should be noted that the following is not included within AWR:

–        Sick pay

–        Maternity Pay

–        Pensions

–        Redundancy payments

–        Benefits in kind

–        Loyalty bonuses

How does this affect umbrella workers

AWR does apply to Umbrella workers as they provide services to fulfil temporary assignments with various end clients. An umbrella company allows workers to take temporary assignments while working for one employer, the umbrella company. They receive full statutory employment rights as well as protection from the Agency Workers Regulations.

Simply put, as the umbrella company, we enter into a contract with the recruitment agency (or end client) to supply a service. The rate the recruitment agency pays goes to the umbrella company  (this should not be seen as the pay rate for the umbrella company worker providing the service) and is often referred to as a charge out Rate. The charge out rate takes into account that the umbrella company will be responsible for employing the person who performs the service and as such will be responsible for paying employers’ costs such as employer’s national insurance as well as retaining a margin for their own business.

Where the AWR helps is to ensure that once the employers expenses have been deducted, the wage and expenses then processed for salary to the temporary worker by the Umbrella Company are the same or more than the wage being earned by a comparable permanent colleague working in the same role at the end client. This means that the employer’s expenses and umbrella company margin are taken into account when performing AWR checks to ensure the worker is paid in line with AWR requirements.

What do we do?

At UC Contractors, we employ all contractors under a contract of employment carefully written and updated by EGOS which takes into consideration and protects you under AWR. Within this contract, we request Previous Work details (this is so that we are aware when a candidate has been in the same role with the same end client for more than 12 weeks) and it also contains provision for holiday pay as all workers have a right to paid leave under the Working Time Regulations.

As of 6th April 2020, the worker must be provided with a written statement confirming the agency worker is entitled to rights relating to pay conferred by regulation 5 of the 2010 regulations. This is provided to you at the start of your employment with us through your secure contractor portal. You are also entitled to a Key Information Document before acceptance of each individual assignment. Our due diligence process ensures that this is produced  at the start of each new assignment and that you receive a copy accordingly.

As we generally have a contract with your agency and not the end client, we will reach out to your agency after your first payment, after 8 and 12 weeks to check if they have done their due diligence to make sure that you are being treated (and paid) fairly.

If you suspect that AWR is not being adhered to after you have been in the same role with an end client for more than 12 weeks, you have the right to a review. Please contact us using the ‘contact us’ form in your secure portal and we can contact your agency for the appropriate information.

UC Contractors And The Agency Workers Regulations

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