The majority of temporary workers work through employment agencies. The decision of the EAT in Dacas v Brook Street Bureau 2003 would appear to establish the principle that the agency are, from an employment law perspective, their employers. Responsibility therefore lies with the supplying agency to ensure that their employment rights such as their rights under the National Minimum Wage, holiday entitlements under the Working Time Regulations and their rights to Maternity Pay are honoured. After 12 weeks of working with the hiring organisation, agency workers are entitled to the same terms and conditions of employment as those given to comparable employees of the hiring organisation. These include:
- rates of pay - including any fee, bonus, commission, or holiday pay relating to the assignment. It does not include redundancy pay, contractual sick pay, and maternity, paternity or adoption pay
- working time rights - for example, including any annual leave given to emplyees that is above what is required by law.
Agency Workers are also be entitled to paid time off to attend ante-natal appointments during their working hours.
The exception to this 12 week service entitlement is in circumstances where the Temporary Worker has a contract with the Employment Agency that provides for pay 'between assignments'.
An employer hiring a temporary agency worker should satisfy themselves that the agency acknowledges that the employment relationship lies with them and recognises its obligations towards the agency worker in terms of his or her statutory rights.
Temporary workers taken on directly by an employer are entitled to equal treatment with permanent employees under the provisions of the Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002.