Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) - Frequently Asked Questions

Who is an Agency Worker?

All PAYE contractors and contractors who work through an Umbrella company are Agency Workers. A small number of Limited Company contractors will also be Agency Workers.

Who isn't an Agency Worker?

A Limited Company contractor who is not 'in the business on their own account'. If you're contracting with Volt, we'll send you a questionnaire to complete and assess whether or not you'll be an Agency Worker based on your answers.

What are 'Day One' rights?

These are rights that the contractor gains on the first day of their assignment. These are all client controlled rights and include access to client onsite facilities, such as a crèche, gym, onsite car park or canteen, and access to client transport facilities such as a client organised bus link to/from a local railway station. There's also a separate right for agency workers to be notified of any permanent vacancies within the client's organisation (which can be as simple as providing agency workers access to the client's intranet, if this is where the client lists their permanent vacancies).

What are 'Post-Qualification' rights?

After 12 weeks of providing services in the same role to the same client, the Agency Worker will gain the right to the same basic employment and working condition terms as a permanent employee of that client doing the same job. These include;


Working Time

Rest Periods

Night Work

Annual Leave (including payment for annual leave)

What is included within 'Pay'?

Fee (Hourly or Daily Rate)

Shift Allowance and/or Overtime (If applicable)

Bonuses related to the quality or quantity of work done by the Agency Worker

Commission (If applicable)

Holiday Pay

What isn't included within 'Pay'?

Any Bonus that relates to longer term client goals, department goals or loyalty

Any annual company-wide bonuses

Share schemes


Contractual Sick Pay, Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay and Adoption Pay (Where the client offers more than the statutory minimum)

Financial Participation Schemes


How is the Post-Qualification Period calculated?

It's 12 calendar weeks from the first week worked. Any one hour worked in a week will count as a whole week, so if an Agency Worker starts their contract on Wednesday, that whole week will count as week one of the post-qualification period.

Can you opt-out of AWR as a worker in the same way that you can opt-out of Conduct Regulations?

No. The AWR expressly prohibits opting out and any attempt to do so may result in financial penalties.

If a contractor works under a Statement of Work (SoW), does that exclude them from AWR?

Yes, provided that it is a true SoW. The contract must be for a specific service (Not for a individual working in a role) with payment made on the basis of clearly defined deliverables and the client having no ability to direct the work.

Are Agency Workers entitled to time off for Ante-Natal appointments?

After the 12 week Qualification Period is completed, the Agency Worker will be entitled to paid time-off for Ante-Natal appointments.

Who do we compare the Agency Worker with in order to work out their Post-Qualification rights?

If there's a permanent employee within the client's organisation who undertakes the same job, then they will be person with whom comparison should be made. It there's no permanent employee in that position, then the Agency Worker should be offered the same rights as if the clients were to employ that Agency Worker on a permanent basis.

How will the Agency Worker get hold of the information on their Post-Qualification rights?

Volt will provide the client with a questionnaire that they will need to complete. We will then pass the response/s on to the contractor.

What is 'Swedish Derogation'?

It's a method of contracting out of the Post-Qualification right to equal pay. The Agency Worker needs to be an employee of the company and must be paid between assignments (IE 'On the bench' time) for four weeks at 50% of their standard rate or minimum wage if higher. The Government is phasing out this part of the AWR and it will cease to be effective on 5 April 2020.