Working for an agency can be a good way to find regular work while at the same time giving you a bit of flexibility. However, it is important to know what your legal rights are and what you should be aware of before registering with an agency.
As an agency worker, your contract is with the agency- this means they find you employers and are temporarily supplied to them. While working for the employer they control your work. Crucially this is defined as being employed and is not on a self-employed basis.
People who find temporary work through agencies, people employed by in-house recruitment banks, people who apply directly through a recruitment agency or themselves for work or on loan from one company to another are not technically classed as agency workers.
Your rights as an agency employee
- You must be paid the minimum wage. After 12 weeks you can ask to be paid the same amount as a permanent employee.
- Your agency can only withhold pay to check the hours you have worked- they can’t do this if the employer isn’t satisfied with your work because this is an issue with them as opposed to the agency.
- It is possible to be paid “between assignments” while looking for work with an agency. This is calculated at 50% of your previous pay and only occurs when you are not receiving any work.
- No unlawful deductions must be made from the wages you’re paid
- No discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability etc. An employer should be able to make reasonable adjustments based on your needs.
- A modelling or acting agency can’t charge you to find work- they must take a percentage based on the work they find you and they must inform you in writing if there are any additional fees to pay.
- No limits on working hours (there are some exceptions but you should check this before registering)
- If you point out any illegal practises in a job you are assigned to (“whistle blow”) you should not be dismissed or discriminated against for doing so
- If you are eligible you can take unpaid parental leave- you may also be entitled to sick pay, adoption, maternity or paternity pay (again you should check before registering)
- You should be able to work in a safe workplace
- You have the right to take a claim to an employment tribunal
Sadly there are some rights you are not entitled to certain rights (such as not being able to ask for a full written statement detailing the terms and conditions of your employment).
We believe in being big enough to specialise and small enough to care. This means that if you are concerned about agency work or feel that you have been unfairly discriminated against please contact us today and we will be happy to discuss your case in more detail with one of our employment specialists.