The holidays are here!

As the summer holidays roll on, employers often face the tricky dilemma of managing the workload left behind when employees are away on holiday. In some cases, it may be simple to share the workload between remaining team members or opposite numbers, but in smaller operations or those with specialised roles, there may be no suitable replacement available. In this case it may be necessary to approach an agency who can help with short term temporary assignments to cover the period of absence.

Employer responsibilities

Employers using agencies to find temporary or permanent workers have certain responsibilities. These include:

  • Managing agency workers’ health and safety
  • ensuring they have the same access to shared facilities as other workers
  • letting them know about relevant job vacancies in your business

Agencies that find staff for other businesses, but pay the staff themselves, are known as ‘employment businesses’. If you take on workers through an employment business, they’re responsible for ensuring the workers’ rights under working time and minimum wage rules.

Additional rights after 12 weeks

If you find that an agency worker fits well into the team and is competent to cover a variety of roles, you may find that a two-week assignment extends to a four week, six weeks or beyond. If this happens it’s important to bear in mind that after 12 weeks in the same job, agency workers are entitled to the same terms and conditions as employees doing the same or similar work. This includes:

  • pay
  • working time, rest periods and breaks
  • night work
  • annual leave
  • time off for antenatal appointments for pregnant workers