What are the Agency Workers Regulations?

AWR focuses on EU temporary workers rights. Giving temps the right to the same pay and working conditions as permanent staff. Initially aimed at low-paid factory workers, a number of employers are changing business practice in order to adhere to the regulations. It is well worth being aware of the regulations and how they can affect you.

Equal Pay, Equal Working Conditions

Who is an agency worker and what is an agency under the regulations?

Temporary agency worker

  • A PAYE temporary worker whether employed by the supplying agency under a contract of employment or engaged as a worker under a contract for services.
  • A PAYE temporary worker supplied via an umbrella limited company either directly or through an agency.
  • A worker who is genuinely in business on their own account, (i.e. a genuinely self employed one person limited company contractor) is outside the scope of the regulations.


  • The agency supplying the temporary worker to the hirer
  • Umbrella limited companies whether supplying through an agency or directly to you
  • Any master or neutral vendors in the supply chain

What do the regulations do?

The regulations grant two types of rights to temporary workers:

  • Equal working conditions
  • Equal level of pay to that of a permanent employee in identical role.

From day one in an assignment temporary workers are entitled to the:

  • Same access to collective facilities as if were directly employed by you, e.g. company canteen, gym membership, car parking facilities, subsidised transport etc.
  • Right to be informed of suitable internal vacancies at your place of work e.g. if you post internal vacancies on the company intranet site make sure you give temporary workers access to it

What is ‘pay’ under the regulations?

Pay includes:

  • Salary or wages
  • Commission/Bonuses
  • Holiday pay
  • Overtime pay

Pay does not include (therefore temporary worker not entitled):

  • Benefits in kind
  • Occupational sick pay
  • Pension payments
  • Maternity, paternity and adoption pay
  • Redundancy pay
  • Share and option schemes
  • Loyalty bonuses (such as a Christmas bonus) or any bonus payments which are not directly attributable to the amount or quality of the work performed by the temporary worker
  • Guarantee payments
  • Company car
  • Health/life insurance

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