New rules on agency workers affect farm bosses

New rules which equalise pay and conditions and rights between agency workers and those directly employed came into force on 1 October.

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) apply to workers employed through a third party and say that after 12 weeks in an assignment, an agency worker is entitled to the same pay and conditions as directly recruited employees of the hirer doing the same job.

“Employers need to be careful because the 12-week qualifying period can accrue over a much longer period of time, taking in several periods of work with the same employer but with the agency worker sometimes being supplied by a different agency,” said Jolyon Berry, employment partner with East Anglian law firm Birketts. “This is very relevant to farmers.

“The new rules are simple in essence – from day one of an assignment an agency worker is entitled to the same access to certain facilities and information on job vacancies,” said Mr Berry.

Workers can claim compensation under the AWR for breaches of the rules.