Check your rights as an agency worker

This advice applies to Wales. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland

If you’re an agency worker, you:

  • have certain basic rights at work as soon as you start work somewhere

  • get more rights when you’ve been in the same job in the same organisation for 12 weeks

You can check if you’re an agency worker if you’re not sure. 

If your agency guarantees you work or pays you between jobs, you’re an employee of the agency - this means you have extra rights.

Check what rights you have as soon as you start work somewhere

You have the right:

Check what written information you should get about your job

If you joined your agency on or after 6 April 2020, they must give you:

  • a written statement that describes the job, your working hours and how much holiday or sick pay you’ll get 

  • a ‘key information document’ that explains how your pay is calculated

The agency should give you the key information document before you start working with them. They should also give you a new document if the information changes. You can check what the key information document must contain on GOV.UK. 

If you joined your agency before 6 April 2020, they should have given you a written contract explaining your rights and responsibilities.

If your agency won’t give you any of this information, you can make a complaint about your agency on GOV.UK.  

Check your rights if you’re being discriminated against

You have the right not to be discriminated against at work because of things like your sex, race or disability. You can check if a problem at work is discrimination.

You also have the right not to be discriminated against because you work part time.

You should be allowed to use the same parts of your workplace as employees of the organisation where you do your work. For example, if they can use a staff kitchen, you should be able to use it too. 

You shouldn’t be dismissed or treated unfairly because you reported that the organisation was doing something wrong. This is called ‘whistleblowing’ - you can read more about whistleblowing on GOV.UK.

Protecting your rights

If you have to go to a grievance or disciplinary hearing, you have the right to have a colleague or a trade union representative come with you. 

You can go to the employment tribunal if your rights have been breached. 

If you’ve been in the same job for 12 weeks or more

You’ll get the same rights as people who were hired directly by the organisation where you do your work. 

Check if you’ve worked for 12 weeks

Any week you’ve done some work will count. You don’t always have to work for 12 weeks without breaks. The number of weeks you've built up is paused if you stop working for up to 6 weeks then go back to the same job. You'll have to start the 12 weeks again if you start a different job even if it’s in the same organisation. Talk to an adviser if:

  • you've stopped working for more than 6 weeks

  • you're not sure if you've worked for 12 weeks

Check what rights you get after 12 weeks

You should get the same basic pay and conditions as people hired directly by the organisation and who are doing the same work as you in the same place. 

You should get the same:

  • basic pay - this includes overtime, shift work allowances, some bonus or commission payments, childcare or meal vouchers

  • breaks in your working week - for example, not working at the weekend

  • rest breaks during your working day - for example, a lunch break

  • paid annual leave

This might mean you’re entitled to better terms and conditions than you get from your agency. 


Christophe’s agency gives him 28 days’ holiday each year. It sends him to work at an organisation where employees get 30 days’ holiday a year.

After 12 weeks in the job, Christophe has the right to 30 days’ holiday a year. 

Talk to an adviser if you’re not sure what counts as basic pay.

After 12 weeks, you’ll also get extra rights if you're pregnant - check your rights as an agency worker if you’re pregnant.

If you’re not getting the same rights as other workers after 12 weeks

You should write to their agency to ask why. Your agency must reply within 28 days. If you’re still not happy, talk to an adviser.

If your agency guarantees you work or pays you between jobs

You’re an employee of your agency. You’ll have most of the same employment rights as all employees as soon as you’re employed, including the right to:

You’re usually also entitled to statutory notice pay if your agency dismisses you. You aren’t entitled to it if you’ve been working for the agency for less than 3 months and  the work you were employed for isn’t meant to last more than 3 months. Check the rules about notice pay.

After you’ve been employed by the same agency for 2 years

You’ll also have the right to:

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Page last reviewed on 03 June 2021