Where I work, temporary agency staff are paid less than full-time staff to do the same job. Is this allowed?

The Agency Workers Regulations say that after 12 weeks on an assignment in the same role for the same hirer, temporary agency workers are entitled to the same pay, holidays and working time as a full-time equivalent doing the same job.

The temporary agency workers at your workplace may have signed agreements known as 'Swedish derogation' contracts. This is a loophole in the legislation which has been used by some employers to avoid the obligation to pay equal pay (but not hours or holidays). Not for much longer.

Following union campaigning, including a formal complaint brought by the TUC to the European Commission, the government has announced that the Swedish derogation loophole will be closed from April 2020. From this point, employers that try to escape their equal pay obligation by using this mechanism will be breaking the law. Speak to your union rep to find out more.    

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.

What is WorkSmart?

A career coach that works for everyone.


Enjoy bite-sized activities delivered to you every week.

Lightbulb brain

Equip yourself with essential skills to be the best you yet.


Get the guidance you need to stay focused and reach your goals.

Worksmart circle