New Agency Workers Regulations are to come into force on 1 October 2011 across the UK. Under the new rules, temporary agency workers will be eligible for equal treatment after 12 weeks of working on an assignment.

This will include the right to the same basic working and employment conditions as if they had been recruited directly by the hiring company.

Equal treatment applies to various terms and conditions including those relating to pay, working hours, overtime, holidays, rest periods, access to vacancies and to other facilities it does not apply to other areas such as company pension schemes, company sick pay, or redundancy, according to recruitment consultancy Pertemps Recruitment.

“In what is an already fragile economy where businesses are doing everything possible to maximise profits and cut costs, failure to prepare could add additional costs to their business and undermine their credibility as good employers,” commented Carmen Watson, managing director of Pertemps Recruitment.

Watson added that agency workers too should take the time to familiarise themselves with the fine print in legislation and how it will affect them, as for example, “a break between an assignment of more than 6 weeks will reset the qualification ‘clock’.”