Frequently asked Questions - agency workers - Index Page

Frequently asked questions


Can an agency charge me for finding me work or for registering with them?

A fundamental principle of the Employment Agencies Act is that workers cannot be charged for work finding services. The exceptions to this are the entertainment and modelling sectors. Please telephone the enquiry line on 0845 955 5105 if you have a query relating to this area.

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Can I register with more than one agency?

Yes. There is no limit on how many agencies you can register with.

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The agency says I am not allowed to work for the hirer I was placed with for several months after I leave them is this true?

No. The legislation forbids an agency from putting any restrictions on you working directly for the hirer whom you previously worked for. However, the agency could prevent you being being supplied to the hirer by another agency. Please telephone the enquiry line on 0845 955 5105 if you have a query relating to this area.

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What is a temp to perm fee?

The agency's contract with the hirer for supplying them temporary workers may contain what is known in the industry as a temp to perm fee. This means that if the hirer wants to take you on permanently, they may need to pay an additional fee to the agency.

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Your booklets talk about Employment Agencies (EAs) and Employment Businesses (EBs) – what is the difference?

An EA will introduce you to hirers that you are going to work for permanently (or work for on a fixed or short term contract). With this arrangement, your contract will be with the hirer you go to work for and not with the agency.
An EB (commonly known as a Temp Agency) will place you with hirers to work but your contractual relationship is with the EB and it is the EB that is responsible for paying you.

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I know the difference between an Employment Agency (EA) and an Employment Business (EB). Does it make any practical difference to me?

Yes.  If your contract with an agency is on an EB basis, they must pay you even if they have not been paid by the hirer themselves. If your contract with the agency is on an EA basis, they have to pass on money they receive on your behalf within 10 days of receiving it (unless you request otherwise). However, if they don't get paid, they don't have to pay you. 

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How can I tell if an agency is an Employment Agency or an Employment Business?

Most agencies will operate in both ways. You need to be sure what you are asking them to do for you, i.e. find you permanent and temporary work, and be sure you understand the contract that they ask you to sign.

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Am I entitled to the National Minimum Wage?

Probably. Most workers must be paid the National Minimum Wage. See the DTI's NMW guidance. If you are not receiving the minimum wage, you can complain to the Inland Revenue who enforce the legislation.

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My agency refuses to pay me holiday pay. Who should I talk to?

You can get advice on problems concerning holiday pay from Acas. You can read more about the Working Time Regulations in the DTI guidance - 

Your guide to the Working Time Regulations: sections 1 - 4

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My agency says I am not entitled to paid bank holidays, is this correct?

There is no statutory requirement for any worker (not just agency workers) to receive paid bank holidays. The Working Time Regulations guidance has more on this subject (see the link on the previous question)

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Are agency workers entitled to Statutory Sick Pay?

The Inland Revenue offer this advice "There are various types of agency worker who may be regarded as employees for Statutory Sick Pay purposes. If a worker is treated as an employee for National Insurance contribution purposes, they will also be treated as an employee for Statutory Sick Pay purposes."
The Department for Work and Pensions also has guidance on SSP.

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