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Agency workers – what you need to know

This advice applies to England

You’re an agency worker if you have a contract with an agency but you work temporarily for an employer. You might also be called a temp. When you’re working on a job, the employer tells you how you should do your work. 

You’re an agency worker if all the following things apply to you:

  • there’s a contract between you and an agency
  • you’re temporarily supplied to an employer by the agency
  • when you’re working on a job your work is controlled by the employer
  • you’re not self-employed

You're not an agency worker if:

  • you find work through a temporary work agency but you’re self-employed
  • you work on a ‘managed service contract’ - these are contracts where the agency provides a service to a client, like catering or cleaning, and someone from the agency tells you what to do on a day-to-day basis
  • you work for an in-house temporary staffing bank - this is where a company employs its temporary workers directly and they only work for that business or service
  • you find direct employment with an employer yourself or through a recruitment agency
  • you're on secondment or loan from one organisation to another - this means your employer has loaned you to another employer directly rather than going through an agency

Your employment rights as an agency worker

All agency workers have the right to:

  • be paid the minimum wage
  • be given payslips
  • not have unlawful deductions made from your wages
  • not be discriminated against because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation - get help with discrimination at work
  • not be discriminated against because you work part time
  • have a limit on the hours of your working week (with some exceptions)
  • have paid holidays
  • be accompanied at a grievance or disciplinary hearing
  • work in a safe workplace
  • be able to take certain claims to an employment tribunal

You can read about additional rights for agency workers.

If you were on a pay between assignments contract

This type of contract ended in April 2020. Your agency should have written to you by 30 April 2020 to tell you. If they didn’t, talk to an adviser.

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