Remember agency workers’ rights!

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that individual workers for Royal Mail are agency workers and therefore entitled to the same employment rights as other employees. The EAT upheld a rulingagainst Royal Mail and Angard Staffing Solutions, a dedicated recruitment partner for Royal Mail, which found a group of workers should have been classified as agency workers and given the same rights as other employees within Royal Mail.


Under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, agency workers have the right to no less favourable treatment compared to others who are employed by the organisation. This covers the same right to basic employment and working conditions; bonuses; annual leave; access to collective facilities and amenities; and paid time off for antenatal appointments, once the agency worker has completed a qualifying 12-week period.


In 2019, an employment tribunal ruledthat claimants who worked for Royal Mail and Angard Staffing Solutions, were agency workers and would be entitled to such employment rights as other staff working for Royal Mail. The tribunal heard that Royal Mail uses Angard staff to cover additional demand and unexpected needs in the case of sickness absence. Most Angard staff complete mail processing work for Royal Mail. The claimants worked regular and frequent shifts at the mail centre.


The tribunal heard they worked one or more shifts every month between this period, averaging two shifts with a total of 11 hours per week. They were then suspended and did not receive a Christmas bonus; were given shorter breaks than other Royal Mail employees and were not entitled to apply for internal vacancies.


The tribunal unanimously ruled such infringements acted against the claimants’ employment rights as agency workers. Angard and Royal Mail appealed against this decision, arguing that the claimants were not agency workers and so not entitled to the same rights as other employees. But the EAT dismissed the appeal.


If employers are taking on agency workers, businesses must take steps to ensure these workers receive the same rights as other staff at the 12-week point.


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