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Posted 30 November 2017
by Josh O’Neill

Solving the Transport Labour Shortage – Agency Workers

As most hauliers are aware, the UK is experiencing a shortage of HGV drivers. The shortfall is expected to worsen and by 2020 reach 150,000 drivers. Given the uncertainty of the UK’s position on the free movement of EU labour post-Brexit, might agency workers be the solution? – Possibly, but operators must ensure they stay on the right side of the law.

Who is an agency worker?

An agency worker is someone who has either an employment contract with an agency or a contract to perform work personally under the direction of the hirer. Agency workers are covered by the Agency Workers Regulations 2010.

What rights does an agency worker have?

Under the Regulations, an agency worker is entitled to employment rights whilst working in an organisation. Certain rights become effective from the workers’ first day, in addition, the worker is entitled to substantially more rights after the twelfth week of the agency worker being hired. The qualifying period does not have to be continuous as long as the break from the assignment is less than six weeks.

Day 1 rights

From day one, an agency worker will be entitled to collective facilities and amenities, and information on relevant job vacancies. Collective facilities and amenities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Access to the staff canteen
  • Toilet and shower facilities
  • Food and drinks machines
  • Car parking

Week 12 rights

After the twelfth week, an agency worker is entitled to the same basic conditions of employment, as if they had been directly employed by the organisation. These conditions include:

  • Pay
  • Duration of working time
  • Night work
  • Rest periods
  • Rest breaks
  • Annual leave

Getting it wrong may lead to employment tribunal claims, fines and/or additional tax and National Insurance contributions. For more information on how using agency workers can affect your business, please call Tozers on 01392 207020 and speak with one of our transport law solicitors.

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About the author

Josh O’Neill

Trainee Solicitor

Trainee Solicitor in the litigation department