Frequently Asked Questions


The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) were instituted from 1 October 2011 to ensure that temporary agency workers are not discriminated against and details the rights and entitlements of temporary workers and aims to ensure workers are treated fairly.

Are you confused about whether it applies to you and what you could be entitled to?

To help make sense of it all, we have put together our essential list of Frequently Asked Questions for employees and employers, which should clear up any confusion.


Who is an Agency Worker?

An Agency Worker is someone who has a contract with a temporary work agency and temporarily works for another company. Although, take note, it does not apply to people who are in a business on their own account.

What is the 12-week qualifying period?

In order to pass the 12-week qualifying period, Agency Workers need to work for a client for 12 continuous calendar weeks through the same hirer to qualify for equal treatment regarding pay and other basic working conditions. The good news is that you can accumulate these weeks if you only work a few hours a week. Importantly, your temporary work agency will need details of your work history from you which help establish when you are entitled to equal treatment.

What are my rights from Day 1?

You are entitled to certain rights and conditions from day one of your contract and Employers must ensure that you have access to their facilities, such as:

  • Canteen, vending machines or other food and drinks facilities.
  • Workplace childcare facility.
  • Transport services like shuttles, pick up and drop-offs or transport between sites.
  • Toilets and shower facilities.
  • Staff common room.
  • Waiting room.
  • Mother and baby room.
  • Prayer room.
  • Parking.

In addition, you should also be able to access information on job vacancies in the company.

What are my rights after the qualifying period?

After the 12 weeks have passed, you are entitled to equal treatment regarding pay and other basic working conditions. The latter includes annual leave, rest periods or breaks, night work and duration of working time.

What kind of pay am I entitled to?

Basic pay based on the annual salary an agency worker would have received if recruited directly. This is usually converted into an hourly or daily rate.

Shift allowance and risk payments.

Payment for annual leave.

Bonus or commission payments.

Vouchers or stamps with monetary value (as extras to your salary).


To whom do the Agency Workers Regulations apply?

The AWR applies to:

  • Individuals who work as temporary agency workers.
  • individuals or companies involved in the supply of temporary agency workers to work temporarily for a hirer.
  • hirers.

How do I calculate the 12-week qualifying period?

A temporary worker needs to work for you for 12 continuous calendar weeks on an assignment. The clock is paused if an agency worker:

  • has a break of fewer than six weeks
  • is absent due to sickness (clock paused up to 28 weeks)
  • takes annual leave
  • is affected by shutdowns like factory closure or school holidays
  • jury service or industrial action (clock paused up to 28 weeks).

The clock keeps ticking in the case of pregnancy, maternity, paternity or adoption absence and leave.

The clock resets to zero if the agency worker:

  • begins a new assignment with you
  • moves to a different role in your company
  • has a break of more than six weeks.

What is not included in an Agency Worker’s pay?

  • Occupational sick pay.
  • Occupation pensions.
  • Occupational maternity, paternity or adoption pay.
  • Redundancy pay.
  • Notice pay.
  • Payment for time off for Trade Union duties.
  • Advances in pay, or loans.
  • Expenses, such as accommodation and travel.
  • Bonuses and benefits not linked to the contribution of an individual or to encourage loyalty or long-term service.

If you are not sure how the AWR applies to you or a temp you hired via a recruiter, ask the experts at Simpson Dean. 

Interested in remote working or how to make your business friendly to remote workers? Read the range of informative articles on our blog.

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