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Agency workers unaware of their rights....

According to a new report published by the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) yesterday many agency workers are often unaware of their employment rights and are afraid to raise concerns due to fears over job security. 

ACAS chair, Sir Brendan Barber, said: ‘Our analysis reveals that agency workers can feel a sense of insecurity and fear around their contracts, similar to those raised by calls to our helpline on zero hours contracts.

‘We found examples of agency workers who were afraid of questioning their employment rights or completely unaware that they were entitled to some basic rights.

‘Some workers also complained that they were asked to take on tasks that they were not qualified to handle and employers wanting to ignore the law so that they could sack people immediately.’

The latest report “Three sides to every story: the impact of the Agency Worker Regulations” found these agency workers were oblivious to their rights around aspects such as holiday pay, notice periods and the 12-week qualifying period when an agency worker doing the same work is entitled to have the same basic terms and conditions of employment as if they had been employed directly by the hirer.

Agency Worker Regulations, introduced in 2011, are still a cause for concern for employers, employees, and employer representatives. Around 2,250 calls (0.3% of the total) were made to the helpline on the subject, 43% of which came from agency workers themselves. The report said the regulations were announced to improve the protection and promotion of agency workers, and highlight the positive role of agency work in bringing flexibility to the labour market.

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