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Additional rights for agency workers

What are your additional rights?

Following changes to the law, you may now have extra rights when you work on a temporary job. These are:

  • from the first day in a temporary job you are allowed to use workplace facilities, such as the canteen and creche or nursery
  • the right to information about workplace facilities and job vacancies where you're working
  • after 12 weeks in the same job, you are entitled to the same basic pay and working conditions as permanent employees, unless you are working under a pay between assignments contract
  • If you're pregnant, after completing 12 weeks in the same job you're allowed to take paid time off for ante-natal appointments.

A pay between assignment contract means you’re an employee of the agency. They pay you if there's a gap between you ending one job and starting another. To work out whether you've got a pay between assignment contract and what to look out for if you're asked to sign one, see Pay between assignment contracts.

When does the 12-week qualifying period start

The time that counts towards the 12 weeks started on 1 October 2011. If you started a job for an employer before 1 October 2011, any time you spent working on the job before this date will not count towards the 12-week qualifying period.

What counts as basic pay and basic working conditions

After you have completed a 12-week qualifying period in the same job with the same employer, you will be entitled to the same basic terms and conditions of employment as if you had been employed directly by the employer. These conditions should be written in a contract and cover things such as the hours you work, the amount of holiday you get, and how much money you're paid.

If you are on a pay between assignments contract you will not be entitled to the same basic pay even if you have worked for 12 weeks in the same job with the same employer. However, you will be entitled to the same other terms and conditions that employees have in their contract.

Terms and conditions that are written into a contract may be more generous than the minimum terms and conditions you're legally entitled to. For example, if the employees where you're working are entitled to 30 days holiday a year, you would also get 30 days once you've worked in the same job for 12 weeks, instead of the basic 28 days the law says you can have.

The things that count as basic terms and conditions are:

  • basic pay. This is the pay you would receive had you been recruited directly. It can also include overtime, allowances for shift work or working unsocial hours, contractual holiday pay, bonus or commission payments, childcare or luncheon vouchers
  • how many hours a week you work
  • how many hours of night work you do
  • how many days off a week you are entitled to
  • how long your rest breaks are during your working day
  • the amount of annual leave you get
  • paid time off for ante-natal appointments.

Next steps

If you think you might be entitled to additional rights but your employer hasn’t given them to you, you can get help from an experienced adviser. To find details of your local Citizens Advice Bureau, including those which offer advice by email, see nearest CAB.

More information about your rights

To find out more about your employment rights, see:

Agency workers – what you need to know

Pay between assignment contracts

Other useful information

There is useful guidance on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills website at www.bis.gov.uk PDF and on the TUC website at www.tuc.org.uk.

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