Agency Worker Regulations Explained

AWR stands for Agency Workers Regulations (2010) and is a legislation designed specifically to protect agency workers from discrimination in favour of permanent co-workers in the same role at the end client. Issues addressed by this legislation include pay rate, access to holidays and working time conditions.

Background behind AWR

Imagine this scenario: one permanent employee is sitting beside an agency worker; both carrying out the same work but treated differently, with one having access to certain company facilities and benefits and the other not. Is that fair? Obviously not.

Thanks to this legislation, from day one of your assignment you can use eating and social areas, the canteen, parking spaces, changing rooms and any other facilities that full time employees have access to.

Does it apply to Umbrella Workers?

AWR does apply to Umbrella workers as they provide services to fulfil temporary assignments with various end clients.

Simply put, the umbrella company contracts with the recruitment agency (or end client) to supply a service. The rate the recruitment agency pays goes to the umbrella company and should not be seen as the pay rate for the umbrella company worker providing the service, and is often referred to as a Charge out Rate. The charge out rate takes into account that the umbrella company will be responsible for employing the person who performs the service and as such will be responsible for paying employers’ costs such as employer’s national insurance as well as earning a margin for their own business.

Where the AWR helps is to ensure that once the employers expenses have been deducted, the wage and expenses then processed for salary to the temporary worker by the Umbrella Company are the same or more than the wage being earned by a comparable permanent colleague working in the same role at the end client. This means that the employer’s expenses and umbrella company margin are taken into account when performing AWR checks to ensure the worker is paid in line with AWR requirements.

What do we do?

We employ all contractors under a Pay-Comparator model meaning your contract of employment with us takes into consideration and protects you under AWR. Within this contract, we request Previous Work details (this is so that we are aware when a candidate has been in the same role with the same end client for more than 12 weeks) and it also contains provision for holiday pay as all workers have a right to paid leave under the Working Time Regulations.

As of 6th April 2020 the worker must be provided with a written statement confirming the agency worker is entitled to rights relating to pay conferred by regulation 5 of the 2010 regulations. This is provided to you at the start of your employment with us through your secure contractor portal. You are also entitled to a Key Information Document before acceptance of each assignment. Our due diligence process ensures that this is produced by the agency at the start of each new assignment and that you receive a copy accordingly.

We are certified by ERA Services CIC with reviews on an annual basis to show that our processes are fully up-to-date and comply with all current legislation.

If you suspect that AWR is not being adhered to after you have been in the same role with an end client for more than 12 weeks, you have the right to a review. Please contact us using the ‘contact us’ form in your secure portal and we can contact your agency for the appropriate information.

What does AWR Give you?

From the start of your assignment AWR provides you with:

  • The entitlement to obtain information of any internal vacancies and the ability to apply should you wish to do so.
  • Access to the same collective workplace facilities and benefits including use of the eating and social areas, the canteen, parking spaces, changing rooms and any other facilities that full time employees have access to.

Following 12 weeks in the same role with the same client, AWR provides you with:

  • Equal pay to a permanent colleague in the same role.
  • Basic working rights, such as annual leave, rest breaks, time off for ante-natal appointments and many other benefits.

What is excluded from AWR?

It should be noted that the following is not included within AWR:

–        Sick pay

–        Maternity Pay

–        Pensions

–        Redundancy payments

–        Benefits in kind

–        Loyalty bonuses


Am I entitled to any other Employment Rights?

An umbrella company allows workers to take temporary assignments while working for the one employer, the umbrella company. They receive full statutory employment rights as well as protection from The Agency Workers Regulations.

As an employee of our umbrella company; you are entitled to the following employee benefits in addition to AWR:

  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Maternity/Paternity pay
  • Automatic enrolment into the NEST pension scheme.
  • We also offer a Perkbox Gold membership giving you access to discounts and freebies.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch – we would be happy to help.