AWR compliance and the rising cost of living

Many employers, including recruitment businesses, are taking steps to help and support staff with the rising cost of living, whether temporary help (e.g. a one off payment) or permanent help (e.g. a salary increase). However, should these kinds of enhancement be provided to agency workers and contractors?

The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) give qualifying agency workers, the right to the same basic pay and conditions as comparable directly engaged workers. Therefore, where a hirer offers cost of living benefits to directly engaged workers (employees or directly hired temps) these may need to be equally applied to qualifying agency workers (QAWs). Not all agency workers qualify. For example, the general rule is that the worker must be in place for at least 12 weeks to qualify. So, care should be taken to check this as a starting point.

For QAWs then, where the enhancement is provided as a standard term of employment for directly engaged workers, the same enhancement should be provided to the QAWs.

Problems are most likely to arise during an Assignment when the issue could be easily overlooked, thus leaving the hirer, agency and any umbrella company open to a potential claim.

The AWR may be a forgotten topic for many, but due to IR35 and the increased use of PAYE and umbrella contract engagements, more agency temporary workers than ever potentially fall within its scope.

Now would be a good time to revisit this complex issue.

For this and many other subjects relating to agency worker and contractor supply, attend Lawspeed’s seminar in London on 6th October 2022. BOOK NOW

Theresa Mimnagh, Director at the recruitment and employment law specialist Lawspeed.

Lawspeed group corporate clients benefit from immediate up to date advice on staff engagement and related regulation; employment law, settlement terms and tribunal representation; employment status; client, IR35, PAYE, and umbrella contract templates; contract review/negotiation; self-employment and CIS contract templates; trade membership and government representation; audit and accreditation services and a state-of-the-art digital contract management platform.