AWR for Candidates

What is AWR?

AWR means: The Agency Workers Regulations 2010. The regulations took effect from 1st October 2011. These regulations give temporary agency workers in all sectors, the entitlement to the same basic employment and working conditions, as if they had been recruited directly - if and when they complete a qualifying period of 12 weeks in the same job, with the same hirer. The Regulations also mean agency workers are eligible for certain rights straight away ('Day 1' rights).

The Regulations are very complex and have had to be clarified for schools and supply teachers by guidance notes issued by the DFE. Even now, areas of both the Regulations and the Guidance Notes remain ambiguous, contradictory and open to different interpretations.

This is normal for all new regulations, particularly relating to employment law across multiple sectors, and things will only become clearer once they have been tested in an employment tribunal and precedents have been set.
The regulations were updated in 2019 (taking effect from 1st April 2020) and the guidance has been updated accordingly.

Who is the hirer?

The hirer is: ‘a “person” …which is engaged in economic activity and which books agency workers via a TWA. The hirer is responsible for supervising and directing the agency worker while they undertake the assignment.

According to the DFE guidelines, the definition of the hirer "is to be determined in each case and depends on to whom the worker is supplied and who supervises and directs that person's work."

We will define the hirer as an individual school in all cases, based on the fact that schools are responsible for "supervising and directing the agency worker while they undertake the assignment."

What a Day 1 rights

‘Day 1 rights’ cover two main areas:

  1. equal access to facilities with comparable employees and
  2.  information about permanent vacancies with the hirer

Facilities will vary from school to school and may include:

  • A canteen or other similar facilities
  • Transport services (eg. pick-ups from stations if provided)
  • Staff common room
  • Waiting room
  • Prayer room
  • Food and drinks machines
  • Car parking (subject to availability of space)

For permanent vacancies, all agency workers will be entitled to be provided with information about any relevant job vacancies within the hirer that would be available to a comparable employee or worker. Schools can choose how to publicise vacancies (eg. via the internet/intranet or on a notice board in a communal area), but the agency worker should know where and how to access this information.

What happens after 12 weeks ?

After an agency worker completes a 12-week qualifying period with the same hirer, in the same role, they will be entitled to have the same basic terms and conditions of employment, as if they had been employed directly by the hirer. These are:

  • Key elements of pay
  • Duration of working time
  • Rest periods
  • Rest breaks
  • Annual leave
  • Paid time off for ante-natal appointments

The updated guidance due to the repeal of the Swedish Derogation, removes the exemption related to permanent contracts. Now all workers who have completed their 12 weeks will be entitled to the same pay is if they had been directly employed by the hirer.

How is ‘Equal Pay’ calculated?

Equal pay for supply staff is determined by using comparable pay to those employed directly by the school – a comparator. The comparator rate we use for our workers will depend on the role we are filling and will most likely fall into one of three categories:

  • Qualified teachers not undertaking a full classroom teacher role ("supply cover")
  • Qualified teachers undertaking a full classroom teacher role ("teaching cover")
  • Unqualified teachers, cover supervisors and support staff

What is a “full classroom teacher role”?

We define a full classroom teacher role as one that includes all aspects of "specified work".

According to the DFE supplementary guidance on AWR, specified work means "planning, preparing and delivering lessons and courses to pupils and assessing and reporting on the development, progress and attainment of pupils".

Can schools switch out workers/change booking before people hit the 12-week threshold?

Yes. Bookings can be managed according to need and budget.

The Regulations do contain 'anti-avoidance' measures to protect individual workers from being repeatedly taken out of bookings with the same hirer as they approach the threshold, and then re-booked for another period of 12 weeks after 6 weeks have elapsed. However, different agency workers may be employed every 12 weeks.

Can teachers opt out of their AWR rights to keep working?

No. The Regulations do not allow for any opt outs.

How will I know when I'm approaching 12 weeks in a school?

GSL Education tracks all qualifying weeks for you and informs individual schools in plenty of time when thresholds are being approached.

What information do I need to provide GSL Education

GSL Education will need to know information about your pay scale.

Will there be an increase in my pay rate?

If the school has specified a scale pay rate for the role where the daily equivalent rate is higher than you are currently being paid upon commencing the booking, your pay rate must be increased after 12 weeks. Your consultant can clarify this for you upon commencement of the booking.

How can I find out more information?

Daily equivalents for scale pay rates for Teacher roles can be provided by your Education Consultant. You can also contact them regarding any aspect of AWR for further clarification and information.