Limits on Agency Worker Rights

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has recently held that the right under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, which gives agency workers the right to be informed of vacancies in the end-user company for which they work, does not prevent that company giving preference for vacant posts to permanent employees in need of redeployment. This right is simply a right to information – it does not grant the agency worker any preferential position in relation to opportunities for permanent employment.

In Coles v Ministry of Defence, the MoD gave priority to the 530 permanent employees for a redeployment pool when deciding on undergoing substantial restructuring pool; vacancies were advertised internally. The Agency Worker complained that the MoD had failed to allow him access to details of the vacancy and had denied him the opportunity of applying for it.

Although agency workers must be informed of vacancies so that they have ‘the same opportunity as other workers in that undertaking to find permanent employment’, this does not mean that they must be able to apply for the vacancies on an equal footing. ‘Same opportunity’ means simply that the information must be provided in just as useful a form, and at just as convenient a time, to the agency worker as it is to other workers.

The information is provided not to secure further employment but to help towards finding it.

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