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Agency workers - know your rights


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Issued 10 February 2009 

The Government has launched a new 1million campaign today to help agency workers know their rights and help employers know their responsibilities.

A poster campaign will feature in public places, online and in local press, encouraging workers to be aware of their rights. Business Minister Pat McFadden will write to over 13,000 employment agencies to outline how they can make sure they are complying with the law.

This will complement the work of the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate, which recently doubled in size and extended its investigative powers.

Minister for Employment Relations Pat McFadden said:

"Employment agencies need to make sure they play by the rules and don't short-change their staff. An economic downturn should not be an excuse to deny people their rights to work.

"This campaign will help agency workers know their rights and help employers know their responsibilities".

Katja Hall, Director of Employment Policy at the CBI said:

"We welcome this positive campaign to bolster the awareness of employment rights among both agencies and workers. Increasing people's knowledge is an important first step in ensuring that workers access the rights to which they are entitled."

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

"Of course most agencies act within the law, but some agency workers miss out on the most basic employment rights, and are among the most vulnerable in the whole workforce. This is why we welcome the government's plans to make sure agency workers know their rights and to ensure more effective enforcement of their rights."

Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said:

"The vast majority of agencies are working very hard to keep people in work in a very challenging environment. Agency workers deserve to have their rights respected and we welcome BERR's campaign to root out rogue agencies and employers who do not play by the rules."

Simon Garbett, Chairman of The Employment Agents Movement said:

"TEAM totally applauds BERR and its campaign to raise awareness of workers rights. Whilst the campaign is primarily aimed at employment agencies it obviously should encompass all workers of any agency or employer.

"Enforcing minimum standards such as Health & Safety, minimum wages, holiday pay and ensuring workers pay is not reduced by illegal or unfair deductions is entirely appropriate."

Information on agency worker's rights can be accessed via DirectGov, and any workers who think they are not getting a fair deal should contact the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate on 0845 955 5105. Business Link contains further information on how recruiters can ensure compliance with the law.


1. The 'Know Your Rights' campaign launches on 9 February, with over 1million being used to ensure that agency workers know their rights. It was set up following the recommendations from the Vulnerable Workers Enforcement Forum. The forum brings together front line unions, workplace enforcement agencies, business groups and advice bodies to look at evidence about the nature and extent of abuse of workplace rights.

2. Business Minister Pat McFadden has written to around 13,000 employment agencies across the UK.

3. DirectGov is the Government's public services portal. For specific information on agency workers, see kers

4. The Employment Agency Standards inspectorate is part of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. The Inspectorate carries out inspections of agencies on the basis of perceived risk of non-compliance and investigates complaints about agency conduct.

5. Business Link is a free business advice and support service, available online and through local advisers. For specific information for employment agencies, please see http://www.businesslink

About the Author

Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BERR- Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI - Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-02-10 11:31:27 in Employee Articles

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