Employment Agency Contracts. What are they ?

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You may have seen a role advertised as an ‘agency contract’ and wondered what it meant ? We are finding that there are an increasing number of companies looking for agency staff and the reasons vary.

An agency worker is a person who has an agreement with an agency (PTP Recruitment, for example) to work for another person/company on behalf of the Agency, whom you are employed by and paid by. An accountant may have an agreement with an agency to do work for a company while one of their employees is on leave; a customer service executive may be required where a member of staff is on long-term sick leave. There are lots of scenarios where agency staff are required.

While agency workers do not have all the same employment rights as regular workers, under the EU Directive on Temporary Agency Work temporary agency workers have the right to equal treatment in basic working and employment conditions.

Temporary agency workers must have equal treatment with regular workers from their first day at work in respect of:

  • The duration of working time, rest periods, night work, annual leave and public holidays
  • Pay
  • Work done by pregnant women and nursing mothers, children and young people
  • Action taken to combat discrimination on the grounds of sex, race or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disabilities, age or sexual orientation.
  • Temporary agency workers must also have equal access to facilities such as childcare and must be informed of permanent employment opportunities.

So should you consider an agency contract ? Everyone’s situation is different. If you are in a full time role maybe not. However sometimes the job description is more appealing, the location suits, there may be greater responsibility and there maybe the chance of future opportunities with the company in question. As with all job opportunities, there is a lot to consider, however knowing what an agency contract is may help you make a more informed choice.

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