I have heard agency workers refer to the Swedish derogation. What is this?

Under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, there is one exemption from the right to equal pay (but not to equal treatment on holidays and working time).

This is known as the Swedish derogation because when the Agency Workers Directive was being negotiated in Europe, the Swedish government asked for a special exemption, to reflect normal practice in the use of agency workers in Sweden.

The TUC has lodged a formal complaint to the European Commission that the 'Swedish derogation', as it is reflected in the UK's Agency Workers Regulations, is a breach of the Agency Workers Directive.

There is mounting evidence of abuse of the Swedish derogation exemption. You can learn more in the TUC’s report, Ending the Undercutter’s Charter.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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