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A guide to the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) for contractors

Friday 9th November 2018

For contractors operating through a recruitment agency, a thorough understanding of the Agency Workers Regulations is essential. In understanding all facets of AWR you are then in the position to explain the legislation to clients, remove uncertainty with regards to your status under AWR, and much more. Take a look below as we explore the Agency Workers Regulations and what they mean for your contracting career.

Agency Workers Regulations

What are the Agency Workers Regulations?

Introduced in October 2011, the Agency Workers Regulations were introduced into employment legislation in order to provide temporary workers with the appropriate rights and protection, thus avoiding exploitation by businesses. These rights included, similar pay to permanently employed colleagues, similar working hours, holiday allowances and much more. Workers qualify for these rights after 12 weeks of working in the same role.

An agency worker is identified as an individual that has a contract with an agency, and is working temporarily with an end hirer. Ultimately the employment status of a worker must firstly be identified in order to know whether or not AWR applies to them.

How does AWR impact contractors?

AWR will impact umbrella company contractors operating via a recruitment agency, therefore following 12 continuous weeks of employment within the same contract, an umbrella contractor will be entitled to certain things such as holiday pay, equal pay, access to shared facilities (e.g. canteens).

Where AWR will not apply to umbrella company contractors is when said umbrella company offers a ‘full employment model’, also referred to as the ‘Swedish Derogation’ model. For the most part, it is unlikely that a PSC will be impacted as they are in a ‘business undertaking’, meaning that the end hirer will be deemed a client of the contractor.

Still unsure of how AWR impacts you? The team here at Sterling Group will continuously assess workers against Agency Workers Regulations, therefore we are more than happy to discuss your status with regards to the regulations. Contact us today on 01925 626 200 or email

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