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12 week rule - Agency worker

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Trying to keep this brief and have read a bit on it but still not sure.


I started work at the local council as an agency worker beginning of July - the council requested Level 3 (agency pays £8 an hour for this) and as the work wasn't too high level thought it okayish - not great but a job - no one else did this role and it was to help out for 12 weeks.


After 3 weeks I was offered a kind of promotion being in charge of Admin for the department and a chance that this will last more than 12 weeks - it's still Level 3 no hassles with that. What I am concerned about is that from my reading on the council jobsite is that Level 3 wages are 15875 up to I think 18500 - as my £8 an hour rate works out less than that, could I potentially ask for in 6 weeks the same rate from my agency that the council would pay a directly employed worker?


The agency did witter on a bit that I would get the same holiday rights after 12 weeks but no mention was made of comparable pay. I'm lucky my boss at the council is quite cool - I mentioned something about this to her this week and she said she would show me what the agency were charging me out for and I know she wants me to stay - so maybe I can put something together that I would be better on their books than on the agencies cost wise for the length of the contract.:oops:


If this doesn't happen - would just like to know if anyone knows where I stand after 12 weeks re what my wages should be.


Thanks in advance:roll:



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Hi Clare,


the important point, of course, is that you work for the agency, not the Council. If you have been given higher graded work now, perhaps you should now be pressing you agency for a higher rate of pay, rather than in six weeks time. There are no guarantees that the work will be extended.


You could compare your agency rate of pay to what you think the Council rate of pay is for that role - it doesn't mean your agency will pay you that.


You might be surprised at the hourly rate you are being charged out at by the agency, and the hourly rate you are being paid; you may have some wriggle room to negotiate a higher hourly rate without the agency increasing their charges to the Council (and therefore you become more expensive to keep on). At £8ph you will already be on the full-time equivalent salary of £14,976 - not that far off the bottom end of the salary scale you mentioned.


Salary scales usually don't show the other salary oncosts that the Council have to bear - National Insurance and pension contributions - which work out at a approx. a third of salary paid out (10% NI, 20% Pension Cont.).


So where do you stand in all of this? I shall assume the agency charges you out at £15ph (I have no idea of course). I shall use rounded full year costs.


Clare..................£15,000 per annum

Agency Oncost.....£13,000 per annum

Cost to Council.....£28,000 per annum


Council Employee.....£15,900 per annum to..£18,500 per annum

Employer Oncost........£5,300 per annum to...£6,200 per annum

Cost to Council.........£21,200 per annum to..£24,700 per annum


If you can find out the agency's charge out rate this will make things clearer for you. In the first intance you will know how much the agency itself is earning per hour on top of your wage and therefore how much they could afford to pay you more. An extra £1 ph = approx an extra £1,900 a year to you (36 hrs x 52 weeks).


It might be cheaper for the Council to employ you directly on a short-term (rolling 13 week?) contract. You probably wouldn't be joining the pension scheme on that basis, so employer oncosts would be reduced to approx. 10% NI contributions. (Congratulations, as an employee, you have just become more attractive).

However the Council may have to pay the agency a 'finders fee' to take you off the agency's books (your Council boss would have to find out about that).


Get the agency fee rate, key all the other figures into a spreadsheet as well, have a play with the figures and you perhaps can begin to see how much more you could negotiate off the agency. I would be inclined to quote the equivalent hourly cost to the Council of employing a council employee to do that role (i.e. £11ph [21,200] to £13ph [24,700]) when negotiating with the agency - see what you can get.


I don't think it would be a good idea to tell the agency that you know the rate they are charging you out and see how close you can get to £11ph-£13ph.


Again, if the Council take you on remember you have some leeway to negotiate a figure towards the higher end of the pay scale as the Authority won't be incurring pension contributions.


It might also be worth insuring that if you do take a short term contract with the Council that they don't put you into the Council's pension scheme as a matter of course - as they will then deduct pension contributions from your (hard-won?) salary which will be of next to no use to you in later life.


All the best

Edited by SweetLorraine
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You might find this article helpful: -


From October 1, those in agency work who complete just 12 weeks in a temporary assignment will be entitled to the same pay and benefits as permanent staff.


This is good news for temps, because, you could be entitled to more pay, annual leave and other benefits – so it’s worth making sure you know whether you are covered by the new rules and what you should get.


You will be covered by the new Agency Workers Directive if:

you are a temp hired through a recruitment agency to work for an employer

you are paid through the PAYE system

you work under the direct supervision of the company you temp for

Some 1.4m agency workers will be covered by the new rules – if that includes you, here’s a summary of what you can expect to get:

What’s changing from day one of my assignment?

From 1 October and from the first day of any job you are placed in through an agency, the company must provide you with the same access to company facilities and amenities as if you were a permanent member of staff. You will now be entitled to go to the o-site gym, crèche or canteen, for example, and should get access to information about any job vacancies going at the company.

Agency work: What happens after 12 weeks?

After you have worked for the company for 12 weeks in the same role, you will become eligible for some of the same rights as if you had been directly employed by the company. These include:



The same pattern of working hours/ shifts

Rest breaks

Annual leave

Performance-related bonuses

What’s not included?

Other benefits, including pensions and access to health insurance are not included in the extra benefits temps will be entitled to.

What if my temping assignments are generally shorter than 12 weeks?

You will only be eligible for the new agency worker benefits once you have worked for the same company in the same role for 12 weeks.

If you take a break from your job, which is more than one week and less than seven weeks, then the count of qualifying weeks will pause, resuming once you go back to work.

If the break is due to sick leave or jury service, then the break should be less than 28 weeks.

If you are taking maternity, paternity or adoption leave, you will qualify for the new agency worker rights regardless of these breaks.

If you temp at different employers for assignments lasting 11 weeks or less, you will not be eligible for the new benefits.

Prepare yourself for what’s changing

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you are a temp hired through a recruitment agency to work for an employer

you are paid through the PAYE system

you work under the direct supervision of the company you temp for


Hi goodatreserch, that's good to know for the future. Do agency workers have to meet all three elements of the criteria? If so, if the agency pays the temp - not the company, these benefits may not apply.

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It doesnt matter if its the agency paying the temp or the company. The new rules apply. The exception is if your classed as self employed i.e.you arrange payment of tax/NI yourself and are therefore not paiud through PAYE. However note, alot of agencys will try to confuse you and not apply the rules. You really need to be on the ball and demand compliance.

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Thanks for all your advice and especially the calculations you did Sweet Lorraine and that article goodatresearch - I now know what I'm been charged out at and I do know the finders fee rate.


Not done the calculations in full yet but I can see that compliance with the 12 week rule is going to be my best option at the moment for the length of the current contract - like I say my boss at the council is cool, I think she realises will be a bit of a false economy to get shut after 12 weeks and then train someone else up. I am PAYE so the self employed stuff doesn't apply - not bothered about pension stuff just want goes into my bank account to be a fair wage for the job I do so hopefully these new rules will help.

Edited by aliceinw
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