New research finds that, for two organisations in three (65.1%) there has been no change in their use of agencies to help find temps since the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, although the use of agencies has fallen in 22.1% of organisations.

Under the Regulations, after completing a 12-week qualification period, agency workers have the same entitlement to basic working and employment conditions as if they had been recruited directly by the hirer into the same role. “Some commentators envisaged that the introduction of the Regulations would therefore reduce the role of employment agencies in sourcing temporary labour,” says Rachel Suff, XpertHR author of the report. “This has not happened to any significant extent, but the new legal framework has still affected employer practice in some ways.”

For example, the majority of employers think that the Regulations have placed a significant administrative on their organisation and that the cost of using temps means their organisation is less likely to use them now and in the future (55.5% and 51.7% respectively).

Nonetheless, three employers in four (76.7%) disagree with the statement that “the Agency Workers Regulations have had a detrimental impact on my organisation’s resourcing capability.”

The survey report is based on feedback from 160 employers about their use of agency workers. It reveals that, regardless of the 12-week qualifying period for basic working and employment conditions, two employers in three (64.4%) provide agency workers with the same conditions from day one of their assignment.

Line managers are central to the implementation of most people management activities and managing agency workers is no exception. It makes sense that almost nine employers in 10 (87.9%) have therefore taken steps to inform line managers of the hiring organisation’s new legal obligations under the Agency Workers Regulations.

The research also examines the quality of the working relationship between agency and hiring organisation, and whether employment agencies represent value for money.

In three organisations in four (75.8%), the relationship between agency and employer has stayed the same since the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations in October 2011, but in 15.4% of cases it has improved slightly. The majority of employers (54.4%) agree that the services provided by their employment agencies represent value for money.


 Impact of Regulations on employer’s relationship with agency

% of employers

Improved considerably


Improved slightly


Stayed the same


Deteriorated slightly


Deteriorated considerably


n = 149

Source: XpertHR