Birkbeck, University of London Human Resources

The Use of Agency Workers – Manager Guidance    

1 Introduction

As a responsible public sector institution with charitable status the College will seek to minimise the use of agency staff. Where-ever possible the College will seek not to use agency staff where alternatives can be identified. Managers who have a temporary need for staff should contact HR first as they will be able to assist with the location of temporary staff under regular staff approval processes without the resort to agency staff for whom there are additional costs. These may be applicants deemed appointable during recent recruitment rounds who are interested in an alternative offer and willing for their cvs to be reviewed. Where this does not result in a suitable temporary appointment, temporary agency workers from approved agencies may be hired to help fulfil demands and maintain high standards of service. These appointments should be temporary until such time as temporary non-agency staff are located and/or a recruitment process can be undertaken. This guide applies to all managers responsible for hiring temporary agency workers and to all temporary agency staff while they are on assignment with the College. It reflects the obligations of the Agency Worker Regulations 2010 effective from 1 October 2011.

2 Process for Hiring Agency Workers

Agency workers are hired from selected agencies. The College is a member of the London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC). Contact the HR Manager responsible for your School or Professional Service Department for further information.

When additional temporary resources are required, the line manager will complete the staff authorisation request and send to the Human Resources Department. Line managers should consider the following:

• Agency worker intended start date;

• Approximate length of the assignment;

• Reason why additional resources are required;

• Appropriate rate of pay;

• Job description.

3 From Day One of an Assignment

3.1 Access to College Collective Facilities

All agency workers will be given the same access to the College’s collective facilities and amenities in the same way as any other employee. This access will be from the first day of the agency worker's assignment with the College. The line manager will provide details to agency workers of the College’s facilities on the first day of their assignment. Agency workers will have access to the:

• Malet Street staff restaurant;

• Malet Street coffee bar;

• Workplace Nursery (subject to availability);

• Toilet and shower facilities in the relevant area of work;

• Vending machines.

The Agency Worker Regulations 2010 ensure that agency workers have the same access to collective facilities as directly recruited employees. However, agency workers are not entitled to enhanced access rights. For example, access to the workplace nursery may have a waiting list. Agency workers will be permitted to join the waiting list and so may not be entitled to immediate access.

3.2 Information on Relevant Vacancies

From day one of an assignment with the College, agency workers will be provided with information about any relevant job vacancies within the College. The line manager for the agency worker will have responsibility for ensuring this is done. The details of available vacancies are on the HR website:  http://www.bbk.ac.uk/hr/vacancies/ and www.jobs.ac.uk.

Further information is available from Human Resources.

4 After 12 Weeks of an Assignment

4.1 Equal Treatment

Once an agency worker has completed 12 weeks with the College in the same role, they will be entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions that would apply to employees who have been directly recruited to the same job. This will include pay; duration of working time; rest periods and breaks; and annual leave. The College will liaise with the agency to ensure that the agency worker receives equal treatment.

4.2 Pay

All agency workers will be entitled to the same basic pay to which an employee who has been directly recruited to the same job. This will be within the relevant grade for job. This will include pro rata salary and London Allowance; and overtime pay and shift allowances, where relevant.

In legal terms, pay means any sum paid in connection with the employment including holiday pay.

Pay does not include:

• Pensions;

• Occupational sick pay;

• Maternity, paternity or adoption pay;

• Redundancy or other payment on termination of employment;

• Expenses;

• Additional payments that are not directly attributable to the quality or quantity of the work, for example an award for long service.

4.3 Annual Leave

Agency workers will be entitled to the same paid annual leave to which an employee who is recruited directly to the same job. This leave entitlement will be pro rata to the length of the assignment.

4.4 Working Hours and Rest Periods

Agency workers will work the same basic working hours as an employee who is recruited directly to the same job. There may be circumstances in which agency workers will, if they wish, be able to opt out of the maximum 48 hour working week under the Working Time Regulations 1998. Any worker who has not signed the opt-out or who has revoked their opt-out will not be required to work more than the maximum number of working hours permitted under the Working Time Regulations 1998. Agency workers will be entitled to the same rest periods and breaks as an employee who is recruited directly to the same job.

5 Information for Agency Workers

5.1 Facilities and Relevant Vacancies

An agency worker who believes that they have not been provided with equal access to collective facilities or relevant vacancies may make a written request to the line manager setting out the basis for the unequal treatment. The line manager will respond in writing within 28 days of receiving the request explaining the:

• Relevant information about access to collective facilities and access to vacancies;

• Reasons for the treatment of the agency worker in relation to access to collective facilities or access to vacancies.

5.2 Equal Treatment

An agency worker, after 12 weeks in the same assignment, who believes that they may not have been treated equally in respect of basic employment and working conditions should make a written request to their agency for further information. The agency will provide a written statement to the agency worker setting out the relevant information relating to the basic working and employment conditions of the organisation’s employees and workers. The agency will undertake this within 28 days of receiving the request.

If the agency worker has not been provided with a statement from their agency within 30 days of making the request, they can make a written request to the line manager for a statement setting out the relevant information relating to the basic working and employment conditions of the College’s employees. The College will provide a written statement within 28 days of receiving the agency worker's request. This will outline information relating to the relevant basic working and employment conditions of the College's employees.

6 Moving Agency Workers to New Assignments or Roles

If a manager needs an agency worker to take on a new assignment within the College or a manager is re-engaging an agency worker who has been used before, the line manager should complete the authorisation request and send to the Human Resources Department.

If the agency worker is undertaking additional but similar duties within the same role, the agency worker’s qualifying period will continue to accrue. The agency worker will be deemed to be continuing to work in the same role unless the:

• Work or duties are substantially different from the work or duties that made up the previous role;

• Agency has informed the agency worker in writing of the type of work the agency worker will be required to do in the new role.

If the new assignment is a different role or there is a break of more than six weeks between assignments, the agency worker’s qualifying period will accrue from the start date of the new assignment for the purposes of calculating the agency worker’s qualifying period. However, this is subject to certain exceptions, which are set out below.

The line manager will notify the Human Resources Department if the agency worker's duties have changed and will then notify the agency about these changes. This information will also be explained to the agency worker by the line manager.  It is the responsibility of the agency to provide the agency worker in writing with:

• Notification that the role is a new one that is substantially different from the previous role;

• A description of the new role;

• An explanation that the qualifying period will start again.

7 Absences

There are exceptions where a break of more than six weeks between assignments ‘pauses’ the qualifying period (i.e. the qualifying period does not continue, but starts again where it left off when the agency worker returns). Reasons for the agency worker's qualifying period to ‘pause’ include that they have a break:

• Of up to 28 weeks because he/she is incapable of work due to sickness or injury;

• For the purpose of taking annual leave;

• Of up to 28 weeks for jury service;

• Caused by industrial action within the College.

8 Family Friendly Rights

The agency worker's qualifying period continues to run if the break is due to pregnancy; childbirth or maternity and takes place during pregnancy or up to 26 weeks after childbirth. The agency worker's qualifying period continues to run during any breaks that occur because the worker is taking maternity leave, adoption leave or paternity leave from the agency.

If an agency worker is pregnant, has given birth within the previous six months or is breastfeeding, she should inform her agency and the College in writing as soon as possible. The College will carry out a risk assessment in relation to the role carried out by any agency worker.  If any potential risk to health and safety is identified, the College will, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to the role. If it is not possible to make reasonable adjustments to the role to remove the identified risk, the College will inform the agency and the agency should seek alternative work for the agency worker.

A pregnant agency worker who has completed 12 weeks with the College in the same assignment is entitled to paid time off for antenatal appointments. The College may request written evidence of the antenatal appointment.

9 Manager Responsibility

The line manager has overall responsibility for ensuring that agency workers receive the correct access to collective staff facilities, information on vacancies and other entitlements under this policy.

10 Objective Justification

There may be strong practical reasons why some collective facilities cannot be offered to agency workers. The College will need to demonstrate that it is seeking to achieve a genuine business objective and the less favourable treatment (i.e. not offering equal access) is a necessary and appropriate way of achieving that objective. Where full access is not possible, the College may provide access to collective facilities on a partial basis.

Contact your HR Manager if you need to discuss this further.

Guide Review

Manager Guidance The Use of Agency Workers – Manager Guidance
Applicable to All Managers and Agency Workers
Date Last Reviewed October 2011
Guide Management Human Resources


Printed from: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/hr/policies_services/AgencyWorker/AgencyWorkerinfo
Date printed: 20/10/2017