An agency worker is someone who is employed and paid by an employment agency but works temporarily in a role for a hiring organisation, ie in this case the University, who in turn pay the agency.
This guidance outlines the process for employing temporary workers from an employment agency (commonly referred to as 'temps'), including the important legal obligations which the University and the agency must adhere to.
Through the Southern University Purchasing Consortium (SUPC) the University has access to a framework agreement for the supply of temporary agency staff that has been negotiated and set-up on behalf of member universities. The framework agreement covers administrative and clerical, ancillary, IT and finance and accountancy requirements, at preferential rates, and should be used to meet the full range of the University’s temporary staffing needs in these areas.
The SUPC agencies will also often be able to meet specialist temporary staffing needs in other areas, either from their own candidate base or through arrangements with secondary suppliers, although this will generally not be through the terms of the SUPC contract.
There is no limit to the length of time for which you can engage a temporary worker from one of the agencies. However, it is usually not economically viable to maintain such an arrangement for a long period. In these circumstances it will generally be more desirable to move towards employing somebody on a University fixed term contract.
The SUPC framework agreement includes the following terms:
1. Where a temporary worker is initially engaged through one of the SUPC agencies, any future temporary engagement of that worker must be through the agency rather than a University casual or fixed-term contract, unless the temporary worker applies for and is successful for an advertised vacancy in line with terms 2, 3 and 4 below. Any move to a University casual or fixed term contract outside of terms 2, 3, and 4 below would incur a prohibitive fee from the agency that would make such a move uneconomical and would, in any case, be outside the spirit of the University's contractual relationship with the agency.
2. Where a University vacancy is advertised but is restricted to internal applicants only, SUPC agency workers currently deployed at the University are eligible to apply.
3. There will be no introductory 'temp to perm' fee applicable for an SUPC agency worker who has been deployed at the University for a period of 13 consecutive weeks or more and then applies and is successful for an advertised vacancy, regardless of the department in which the assignment or assignments have been undertaken.
4. An introductory 'temp to perm' fee will be charged for temporary SUPC agency staff who have been deployed at the University for less than 13 consecutive weeks, should they apply and be successful for an advertised vacancy within this 12 week period. The fee will be a percentage of the starting annual salary (from 5% to 20% depending on the length of time the individual has been temping and the fees of the particular agency); any contribution to payment of the fee from the central recruitment budget will be determined on a case by case basis and should be discussed with the HR Resourcing Manager.
The AWR, which came into effect on 1st October 2011, entitles agency workers to benefit from many, but not all, of the same basic employment terms and conditions as employees who work directly for the hiring organisation.
Some of the rights are from day one, as follows:
- Access to facilities eg staff canteen, car parking
- Access to internal vacancies
If the agency worker is employed in the same role for over 12 weeks then they then also become entitled to be treated equally to University employees in the same role in respect of the following:
- Basic salary, overtime pay, annual increments and bonuses and additional pay (where applicable)
- Duration of working time, including rest breaks and restrictions on night work
- Annual leave
- Paid time off for ante-natal appointments
The University has agreed with the SUPC agencies that they will operate a trigger point at which the University’s HR Resourcing Manager will be informed by the agency of any agency worker engagement that is potentially going to last more than 12 week, so that the pay rate can be reviewed to ensure that it meets the legal requirements in terms of equivalence and any other relevant entitlements as above are identified.
If you are engaging a temporary member of staff for 2 months or more, then senior management authority must be obtained first.
Managers who need to hire a temporary agency worker should contact the agencies that are part of the SUPC agreement directly. Full details of the agencies included in the agreement, which all have offices in Bristol, can be found on the Procurement web site. This may be by telephone, e-mail or arranging a face-to-face meeting depending on the nature of your need.
Depending on the type and timescale of your need, you may choose to contact all, some or just one of the agencies. You should supply them with a clear outline of the responsibilities of the role, the type of skills and experience you are looking for, hours and working pattern and duration of your need; a full job description would be the best way to provide this information but is not essential, particularly for more short-term requirements.
You will also need to provide an indication of the ‘hourly rate’ that you will be looking to pay. The agency rates can be found on the Procurement web site or provided by the agency. Note, that what you will pay the agency will be more than the actual pay rate that the agency worker receives to cover NI, VAT and the agency margin.
Please also note the important AWR legal requirements outlined above regarding pay if an agency worker is likely to be employed in the same role for over 12 weeks; from this point (but not necessarily from day 1), the pay rate that the agency worker receives must be the same as the equivalent University grade.
The agency will then supply CV’s for you to review. Again depending on the type and timescale of your need, you may decide to either make your choice based on the details in the CV’s or call people in for a brief interview; interviews can usually be set-up, via the agency, at very short-nature. The full University protocol for candidate selection need not be followed but basic best-practice is advised to ensure you make the best choice.
The agency will be responsible for pre-employment checks, including Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks where applicable. You may if you wish request to view references or evidence of qualifications.
Agency workers are paid by the agency through weekly time sheets, which you as the line manager will be required to sign-off, either hard copy or on-line. If you do not authorise a time sheet the agency worker will not get paid.
All of the SUPC agencies are designated as PROACTIS suppliers. To ensure that invoices are paid promptly by Finance Services, and that agency workers are paid, it is therefore vital that you set up a requisition and purchase order on PROACTIS when you engage an agency temp and before you receive the first invoice. It is often the case that the actual value of the order will not be known in advance, in which case an upper estimate should be used. If you have any queries regarding the process or are contacted by the agency regarding any issues with payment then please contact your Faculty or Divisional Finance Team.
The agency worker will receive a standard induction regarding the University from the agency but you will need to provide them with a local induction to their work area, introduction to other team members etc. If the agency worker will require a UoB login, e-mail address and ID card then you will need to set them up as an ‘honorary’ member of staff.
The agency will keep in regular contact once the agency worker commences working. If there are any concerns regarding work performance or conduct then make sure these are communicated to the agency, who’s responsibility it is to manage the situation. One of the benefits of engaging an agency worker is that there is the flexibility to end the assignment and engage a different person if things are really not working out due to performance or conduct issues.
Agency workers are entitled to the same pro-rata annual leave provision as University employees in equivalent roles and also to paid time off for ante-natal appointments or classes. The agency is responsible for working out entitlements and recording leave. Any request for leave will be made to the line manager and should be treated in the same way as any request from a University employee.
Although agency workers do not receive occupational sick pay or other paid ‘special’ leave they are required to inform you if they are unable to attend work for any reason in the usual way.
At the end of the assignment you will be requested by the agency to complete a quality assessment form. Please ensure you take some time to do this as this feedback is important in monitoring standards of service.
The SUPC framework agreement includes a Service Level Agreement (SLA) outlining the standards of service you should receive from the agencies. If you have any concerns regarding the service you receive you should inform Matt Coote, Procurement Manager or Eddie Procter, HR Resourcing Manager.
When considering this option it is important to be aware of the terms of the SUPC agreement as outlined above or, for agency workers outside of the SUPC agreement, below. Generally, an agency worker would only move onto a University contract through applying for a vacancy and being subject to the normal recruitment and selection process in competition with other candidates.
If you have a temporary staff requirement that cannot be met through the SUPC framework agreement then this should be discussed with Eddie Procter, HR Resourcing Manager, in the first instance to identify the best alternative options.
If you engage an agency worker outside of the framework agreement it is important that these workers are treated in accordance with the law as outlined above. You should also check the terms of business of the agency before engaging the worker, paying particular attention to the following:
· The agencies compliance with the Agency Workers Regulations
· Any fee payable for engaging the agency worker
· Notice provision from either party for terminating the agency worker assignment
· The transfer (‘temp to perm’) fee payable if the agency worker is subsequently appointed on a University contract
· Any repayment of the fee due if a University contract is terminated
It should be noted that it is often possible to negotiate the standard agency fees on an individual basis.
If you require any advice on using temporary agency staff you should contact your Faculty/ Division HR Team or Eddie Procter, HR Resourcing Manager.