10,878 reasons to stay on top of AWR

The Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) assist temporary workers in receiving rights comparable to their permanent colleagues at the workplace. A key element of AWR is ensuring that the information relevant to the worker is received by the employer or agency in good time meaning they can prepare for any changes that may affect them, otherwise heavy fines could arise.

In recent news, the following case was publicised; Stevens v Northolt High School (ET/3300621/2014), whereby, an Employment Tribunal decided that a school did not give an agency’s request for information the attention it deserved resulting in a £10,878 award against the school. This case stressed the duty that the school had to the agency and the worker.

The secondary school, Northolt High School, requested the services of a music teacher, Georgia Stevens, through a supply teaching agency. The temporary head of music was at the school for several months and was aware of the regulations when she started. After being on assignment for more than 12 weeks, she contacted her agency to ascertain relevant comparator information from the school in anticipation of a pay increase under AWR. The school was requested the information on more than one occasion however, the requests went unanswered.

Although the school advised Mrs Stevens it would not be worthwhile for her to proceed with the claim, she later decided to bring the claim herself against both the employment agency and the school. The tribunal found that due to the school ignoring any communication from the teacher or the agency, they would be held solely liable for the total costs of the claim which amounted to an underpayment of £98 per day over a period of 111 days.

It should be noted, the only reason the employment agency was found to not share in the liability was due to their actions being seen as sufficient. Any lack of action on their part in requesting the information would have been seen as a breach of the regulations and they would then be sharing liability with the school.

Employers and agencies should ideally receive day one rights (Regulations 12-13) information from the client before the assignment starts or as soon as possible thereafter. Other rights, such as those related to pay (Regulations five – six), should be received by the employer well before the qualifying period has ended, otherwise more clients (and possibly agencies) could be caught out under these information sharing requirements.

Lastly, schools and agencies need to remember that teachers, and other workers in a similar role, are NOT considered exempt under the ‘professions exclusion’ under AWR. The Department of Education believes that there is supervision, direction and control over the worker by the hiring school. This means that unless the law changes, all teachers providing services through an employment intermediary will be seen to be temporary workers for the purposes of these regulations and so will be in scope of AWR.

For more information, or if would like a copy of the latest AWR guidelines issued by the Department of Education please email pras.desai@orangegenie.com or call 01296 468 483.

Why Orange Genie Education?

We employ and pay thousands of supply teachers and education support staff every year. Our employment portfolio stretches over 10 years in the umbrella industry making Orange Genie Education one of the most trusted umbrella brands. With this in mind, there’s no wonder we have long lasting relationships with hundreds of recruitment agencies all over the UK. Upon joining Orange Genie Education you become an employee of ours benefiting from:

Single employer for all assignments

  • One payment for all different agency assignments completed in a week
  • Simplified and efficient taxation from single tax code
  • Guaranteed pay for the work completed
  • Continuous employment rights
  • Maternity and Paternity pay
  • Sick pay
  • Access to a workplace pension
  • Statutory rights
  • Improved personal credit references and rating
  • Save over £700 with Orange Genie Rewards

Reassurance our supply teachers are employed by an FCSA member that protects and supports contractors. Our aspiration is to improve the lives and wellbeing of supply teachers and education support staff.

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