Twelve-week qualifying period
In order to complete the qualifying period an agency worker must work in the same role with the same hirer for 12 consecutive weeks in one or more assignments. If an agency worker is working in a part-time position and only works one or two days a week they are still entitled to equal treatment after 12 continuous weeks in the same role for the same hirer.
The main examples of where agency workers do not continue to accrue the qualifying period:
- If an agency worker takes on a role with the same hirer which is substantially different to the original role they were employed for (If this happens a new qualifying period will start to accrue.)
- If an agency worker takes a break of more than six calendar weeks during an assignment. ( If a break of more than six weeks is taken then a new qualifying period will start to accrue when they return to work.)
It is important to be aware that an agency worker can qualify for equal treatment after 12 weeks in the same role with the same hirer even if they are supplied by more than one recruitment consultancy.There are some situations where the qualifying period can be started again such as if the break is due to sickness or injury, annual leave, parental leave and jury service.
There are some situations where the qualifying period will continue to accrue:
- If an agency worker is away from work due to pregnancy, childbirth or maternity from the start of the pregnancy and up to 26 weeks after childbirth. In this situation the qualifying period will continue to accrue for the intended duration of the assignment.
- If an agency worker is away from work due to statutory sick leave, maternity/paternity or adoption leave then the qualifying period will continue to accrue for the intended duration of the assignment.
There are some situations where agency workers do not fall into the Agency Workers Regulations:
- If an agency worker is genuinely self-employed ie: those working through their own business or Ltd company.
- If an agency worker is working outside of the UK they would now fall under that country's legislation.
- If a candidate is working for a managed service provider they would not fall under AWR as they are not working 'temporarily for an under the supervision and direction of hirers'.