Government sets out plans to protect vulnerable agency workers

Plans to protect vulnerable agency workers and clamp down on rogue employers have been set out in a government consultation.

In its strategy paper Success at Work the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) identified vulnerable workers as a group it would focus on.

Measures set out in the consultation document include:

  • Giving workers a clear right to withdraw from accommodation, transport or other services provided by an agency without suffering any detriment

  • Plans to alert potential migrant workers to their rights and highlight unscrupulous practices they may fall victim to before they come to the UK

  • Making clear in guidance that driving agencies who flout the law and knowingly allow drivers to work beyond their hours can face criminal prosecution.

Jim Fitzpatrick, employment relations minister said: “Many agency workers choose temporary positions as it fits their lifestyle and allows them to choose their working pattern. The government’s focus in this consultation is on those agency workers who are vulnerable, to make sure they know their rights.”

DTI figures estimate there are 1.4 million temporary workers, including agency workers, in the UK. The agency sector itself is a vibrant part of the economy with a turnover of £24.8bn in 2005/06.

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