February 10, 2014

Agency Workers Regulations do not cover indefinite engagements

In the circumstances of this case, the Claimants were employed for very many years by ICS Limited and, from the start of their employment, were placed to clean for the Second Respondent. For one of these Claimants the engagement had lasted 25 years. When the Agency Workers Regulations came into force the Claimants all lodged claims on the basis that they were agency workers under the meaning of the Regulations. In a pre-hearing review to determine whether or not the Regulations applied to them, the Employment Judge held that they did not come within the definition of “agency workers”, which referred to workers being supplied on a temporary basis, from a temporary work agency. Although the definition of temporary was not identified, the Employment Judge decided to use the dictionary definition, and on that basis found that the long term engagement of all the Claimants did not fall under the qualification of temporary.

The Claimants appealed to the EAT, which dismissed their appeal, commenting that if all agency workers fell within the scope of the Regulations there would be no need for the Regulations to specify that they apply only to temporary workers.

This legal update is provided for general information purposes only and should not be applied to specific circumstances without prior consultation with us.

For further details on any of the issues covered in this update please contact Gemma Ospedale, Partner in Employment on 020 7583 2222.

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