Many recruiters are finding themselves in unfamiliar territory with some of their obligations under the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR), in particular the requirement to obtain information on pay and basic working conditions from clients, in order to establish the correct pay for candidates once they have qualified for it. The widely reported problem is that clients are simply not interested or don’t have the time to respond to requests for information.
What’s more, many clients have passed the risk of claims under the AWR onto the agency, where the agency has signed up to the client’s terms. But there are steps agencies can take to improve the situation where a client is not forthcoming with the required information.
Firstly there should be several attempts to contact the client. Secondly, each attempt should be documented, to prove obligations have been satisfied, if required at a later date. The key here is that an agency needs to be able to show it has done everything within its power to comply with the AWR.
Proving the steps that have been taken is important; read receipts, responses to emails, copies of letters and written confirmation of telephone conversations should all be kept. Verbal requests may not be enough.
Precautions such as these strengthen the agency’s position, however it is ultimately up to an Employment Tribunal to decide how to apportion the blame.
Regrettably the Regulations work in a way that, regardless of your own diligence, an agency worker can still bring a claim. Holding the evidence of your efforts should avoid an award against you.