Agency rights change on Saturday

Law firm Brabners Chaffe Street is warning employers to be prepared for new legislation which will bring major changes to the rights of agency workers.

The Agency Workers Regulations, which come into force on 1 October 2011, mean agency workers will be entitled to the same pay and benefits as permanent employees after 12 weeks in a job. These include duration of working time, night work, rest periods and breaks, annual leave and paid time off for ante-natal appointments.

Also included are new entitlements for agency workers from day one of their assignment with regards to access to facilities at the workplace and the right to be notified of any relevant vacancies.

Paul Chamberlain, employment partner at Brabners Chaffe Street, said: "This is a powerful piece of legislation and if businesses are unprepared for the changes and fail to put the right systems in place in time, it could leave them vulnerable to employment tribunal claims as well as having major resourcing and financial implications."

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