AWR: What Source is Doing to Comply and Keep You Protected

 What we are doing to comply and keep you protected

As a recruitment agency, Source has a responsibility under the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) to ensure that our Freelance workers are offered the same basic working and employment conditions as workers that are employed directly by a Client. We also have a responsibility to ensure that our Clients don’t fall foul of the law in relation to the regulations and their responsibility to it.

With this in mind, we thought we would pose and answer some questions you might have, to demonstrate that Source is fully prepared for the AWR.

Is Source an APSCo and/or REC corporate member?

Source is both an REC and APSCo corporate member. This means that we have been kept up-to-date during the development and release of the AWR, and continue to be informed as the law evolves.

Does Source know what AWR is? 
In essence, the AWR entitle agency workers to basic working and employment conditions that are no less favourable than those offered to the employees recruited directly by the hirer. Some of these rights are afforded to the Freelancer from day one; others after 12 weeks in the same role.

What percentage of Source workers could be affected by the AWR? 

Like most agencies that supply workers to a client, our Freelancers work under the direction and guidance of the client (in most cases), and as such are all caught by the AWR.

The exception to this is where we ‘introduce’ you to a Freelancer, and charge an Introduction Fee whilst the Freelancer bills you directly for their time. These contractors are not affected by the AWR.

What are the ‘Day One’ and ‘Week 12’ rights for agency workers that are in scope?

Day One rights:
*Equal access to on-site facilities (canteen, crèche, parking etc.
*Equal access to information on permanent employment vacancies
*Equal access to company training, such as Health and Safety

Rights after week 12:
*Key elements of basic pay; overtime, shift/unsocial allowances etc.
*Annual leave above the statutory minimum
*Incentive payments linked to personal performance for work done that is directly attributed to the individual
*Vouchers/stamps with a monetary value
*Rest breaks between shifts
*Rest periods during the shift
*Pregnant workers entitled to paid time off for ante-natal appointments

What systems does Source have in place to monitor each worker, the weeks they have worked, and the associated comparables of a full-time employee? 

We make it easy for our Clients. Everything is housed within our online timesheet system. Firstly, we assume that ‘Day One’ rights will be offered to candidates working for you as a matter of course. No comparable information is required from you at the start of the booking period. We count all timesheets that are submitted and approved so that we know when the 12 week period starts. We are also in a position to monitor multiple clocks per contractor, should they be working for you in different job roles.

How will Source manage to count accrued weeks of work where there are gaps of more than a week between work periods, including those breaks that do, and don’t, stop the clock?

Our online timesheet system and the terms with which we engage our Freelance workers protect both us and you the Client. Freelance workers are given the responsibility to inform us of any instances when they won’t be working. But where the clock continues to run, and where they would be entitled to additional benefits (e.g. maternity, paternity and adoption), we are then in a position to maintain the clock counting, ensuring that you are informed at the point that we need to do a comparable check.

How will Source manage your comparable testing and what do we, the Client, need to do?

Our online timesheet system will alert us at 11 weeks, allowing us a week to run a comparator check with you. Your consultant at Source, or one of the Operations team, will make contact to request that you enter comparator information into the online timesheet system. This information will inform us if the candidate is entitled to additional benefits or not.

What assurances can Source give us that they will be able to clearly identify the workers who will need comparable tests applied to their working status? Additionally, will Source indemnify us against AWR if we supply you all the necessary information? 

We will be able to ensure that every worker is tested against whether they are in or out of scope in relation to the AWR via the compliance checks that we have in place for every candidate at an operational level. Additionally, all workers that are in scope are automatically monitored by the online timesheet system.

Our online timesheet solution is used by more than 1,500 companies, to pay more than 1,000,000 payments a year. It is provided by Baker Tilley, a Top 10 national accountancy and business advisory firm. In addition, we are able to offer a level of protection to our Clients in relation to the AWR through our Professional Indemnity Insurance cover – so long as you are providing us with the comparable information that is needed and so long as you don’t seek to apply any avoidance tactics.

What is the implementation process Source adopts when a worker is found to be due additional benefits?

Every company has a different set of benefits that it offers its employees. We will need to view each instance of benefits adjustment on its own merit. In most cases the benefits adjustment will be negligible and added to the Freelancers pay rate and then passed on to the Client. Our Operations team will provide for you the details of adjustment provision where required, and any requirements that you will need to make for Freelancers where the benefit cannot be attributed directly to a financial adjustment – such as in the case of paid time off for ante-natal appointments.

Have Source amended their Terms and Conditions of Business to accommodate the AWR, for both Clients and Freelancers?

Yes, our Terms and Conditions for all Clients and Freelancers have been amended to take into account the provision of the AWR, and to assign responsibility and protection to all those involved in the supply chain.

Your recruitment suppliers will need to have robust technology solutions in place if they are to monitor and manage every one of their Freelance workers, at every one of their clients, in each role type that the Freelancer might be employed.

To give a reality to this, Source placed over 1,800 people into different Freelance bookings in May to July alone, and over 90% of those workers are ‘in scope’. So that’s over 1,600 ‘clocks’ for us to watch on behalf of our clients. We have invested in the technology to support and protect both our Clients and Freelance workers. We want to make working with the new legislation simple for all concerned!