Agency Workers Regulations

The Agency Workers Directive came into force on 1st October 2011 and the rules are aimed at protecting agency workers by providing them with 'equal treatment' after 12 weeks in a given job.

The contracting industry has been speculating over the impact of the Directive , in particular over whether limited company contractors are affected or not.  It now seems clear that contractors who are in business on their own account should not be affected by the new rules.

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) exclude individuals from the definition of an “Agency Worker” in circumstances where the individual works under a contract and the effect of that contract is that the status of the agency or end client is that of a client or customer of a profession or business undertaking carried on by the individual.  This suggests that engagements which are B2B (business to business) relationships between the individual and the agency / end client are outside the scope of the AWR.  Furthermore the published guidance notes make clear that this is the intention”.

The 'employment status' of a contractor will seem to determine whether or not a contractor will be covered by the AWR.  Essentially, if you are not caught by the IR35 rules, you will not be caught by the AWR rules.

The REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation) says that recruitment agencies would need to be provided with some kind of checklist to determine whether a contractor is 'in business in their own account' or not.


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