Agency Staff

Some institutions, particularly FE, appear to rely heavily on the use of Agency teaching staff. Greenwich Community College is one such example.  The same arguments  could apply to the use of Agency Staff.  Below are some specific points.

New Legislation – Agency Workers Regulations 2010

The long awaited Agency Workers Regulations 2010 finally came into force on 1 October 2011. The regulations introduce new ‘day 1 rights’ which agency workers are entitled to now and from the first day of every assignment. The clock also started ticking on the 12 week qualifying period for access to the new ‘equal treatment’ entitlements.   See UCU Professional and Publications.

‘Day 1 rights’ are:

  • Access to all facilities and amenities provided for directly employed workers such as canteen, staffroom, childcare facilities, sporting and social facilities etc. Employers must provide objective justification for blocking access.
  • Information on job vacancies at the hirer’s workplace.

‘Equal treatment’ entitlements after 12 weeks in the same job with same hirer:

  • Key elements of pay
  • Normal working hours
  • Rest periods and breaks
  • Annual leave
  • Paid time for ante natal appointments

However ‘equal treatment’ does not include:

  • Sick pay
  • Pensions
  • Maternity, paternity or adoption pay
  • Bonuses which are not connected to an individual’s performance
  • Redundancy pay
  • Advances in pay or loans
  • Expenses
  • Share ownership schemes
  • Benefits in kind

(UCU Professional and Publications – see page 19.)

Arguments in support for Agency Staff being transferred to direct employment:

  • Since 2009 the cost of using agency workers has increased significantly due to changes in VAT regulations. Direct employment is a cheaper alternative.
  • Direct employment ensures a higher degree of continuity, commitment and therefore quality.
  • With directly employed staff, managers can more easily promote a culture of cohesion and meet the requirements of funders, partners and Ofsted to implement a long-term strategy.

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