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Acas publishes new guidance after one in four calls from agency workers reveal they are not being paid correctly

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Acas has published a new guide on agency workers after its helpline revealed that many of them were not aware of their legal rights.

At least one in four calls about agency workers to the Acas helpline are from about not being paid properly. The workers raised the issue of delays to their wage payments from agencies, of not being paid at all, or not being paid correctly.

Acas Senior Guidance Adviser, Tom Neil, said:

"It is clear that there are agency workers who are unsure about their rights at work. This can leave them unsure about their entitlements on pay, working hours and time off for holidays and sickness.

"Some agency workers complain about their pay being delayed because the employer has not paid the agency. Agencies should know that workers have a right to receive their wages whether or not the employer has paid the agency.

"Our new advice is an easy to understand guide that's designed to explain how the law applies to agency workers now. Our unique insight as conciliators in workplace disputes across the UK has informed the guidance on issues such as holiday pay, pensions, parental rights and joining a trade union."

Acas' new agency workers guidance aims to help all those involved in this working relationship to understand the rights and responsibilities of agency workers or those using the services of an employment agency.

The new Acas guidance includes the following tips for agency workers:

  1. Agency workers are entitled to be paid even if the agency has not received a payment from the employer.
  2. Make sure you know your employment status as this is essential to understand your rights. Whether you are a worker, an employee or self-employed, affects your pay, holidays and other entitlements.
  3. Remember that after a 12 week qualifying period, in most situations, an agency worker must receive the same pay as those directly employed.

The Government is currently running a consultation on the recommendations made about agency workers from Matthew Taylor's Review of modern employment practices. The consultation closes on 9 May 2018. For more information, please see

Acas will update its guide on agency workers if there are any future changes to the law that relates to agency workers following this consultation.

Notes to editors

  1. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.
  2. The Acas helpline received 10,754 calls in 2017 about agency workers and 3,150 were from agency workers complaining about being paid correctly.
  3. You can see the Acas guidance on
  4. For media enquiries please contact Steven Mather 0330 109 3645 or For out of hours calls please contact 0330 109 7070.