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Topic: Personnel management

letter informing agency worker of rights after twelve weeks
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Letter informing agency worker of rights after twelve weeks

Letter informing agency worker of rights after twelve weeks

This letter is for you to give directly to agency workers to inform them of any changes that may occur to their terms and conditions after they have completed twelve weeks on assignment. There is no legal requirement for you to provide this letter, but it can be a useful tool in ensuring compliance. It is also a good idea to provide a copy of this letter to the agency so that all parties are clear as to any changes that are to be made (particularly where the agency needs to make any changes to the payments or benefits that it makes or provides to the worker).

Legal entitlements

After an agency worker completes a twelve-week qualifying period with you in the same job role, they will be entitled to have the same basic terms and conditions of employment as other comparable employees that you have hired directly. These are key elements of pay, any enhanced rights relating to working time and holidays above the statutory minimum, and time off to attend antenatal or adoption appointments. Parity of terms for these purposes must be assessed using a term-by-term approach, and not by adopting an overall package approach.

Pay covers basic pay, overtime payments and any shift/unsocial hours allowances, pay for enhanced contractual rights regarding rest breaks and annual leave, bonuses or commission payments directly attributable to the amount or quality of work done, non-contractual bonuses paid as a matter of custom and practice, and vouchers or stamps which have a monetary value but are not salary sacrifice schemes.

Calculating the twelve-week qualifying period

The twelve-week qualifying period is based on calendar weeks and breaks between assignments will often cause the qualifying period to restart. However, as the working patterns of agency workers can be irregular, there are a number of circumstances in which breaks between assignments will not restart or delay the qualifying period. A break will merely “pause” the qualifying period where it is less than six weeks, or if it is due to sickness, annual leave, a regular/planned shutdown or jury service. Further, it will continue to run if the break is due to maternity leave, adoption leave, shared parental leave or paternity leave or due to the agency worker’s pregnancy or because she has given birth. 

What should be included in the letter?

If any of the elements of the worker's pay require obtaining a qualifying period of hours/service (such as bonus payments), this should be highlighted either in this letter or in an easily accessible document to which the worker can be referred. Likewise, if there are any payments that the agency is not required to make to the worker (for example, flat rate bonuses not attributable to personal performance, redundancy and notice pay, and paid time off for trade union activities) that are often made to your employees, it could be helpful to highlight these payments in this letter to avoid confusion.

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