Regulations only apply to ‘temporary’ workers

02 February 2014

Elizabeth Lang, Frances Vickery

In Moran and others v Ideal Cleaning Services and Celanese Acetate, the EAT considered the case of several claimants who were employed by the first Respondent but were placed to work as agency workers at the premises, and under the supervision of the second Respondent. This arrangement continued for many years. When the claimants were made redundant, they argued that they qualified for protection under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (‘the Regulations’) as 'agency workers' and so were entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as the employees of the second Respondent.

The EAT disagreed. The Regulations only protect an ‘agency worker’ whose work is ‘supplied by a temporary work agency to work temporarily  for and under the supervision and direction of a hirer’.

This was not a ‘temporary’ arrangement so could not fall within the Regulations. The claimants could only rely on rights as against the first Respondent.

Points to note –

  • This may be a significant decision as the Regulations contain an inherent contradiction. Whilst they are stated to protect temporary agency workers, they also state that they only cover agency workers who have worked for a 12-week qualifying period
  • It seems that it may be easy for employers to ensure that the protection afforded to agency workers under the Regulations is avoided by making all agency worker arrangements of an indefinite duration, and therefore not ‘temporary’ 

Authors