If as an agency worker you suffered an injury in an accident at work while in the temporary employment of a company or business, you could be entitled to file for compensation against an employer providing you can prove the incident occurred through no fault of your own and it happened in the last 3 years.
What is the Definition of an Agency Worker?
Agency workers are sometimes referred to as temporary staff because they are employed by businesses through an agency on a temporary basis. As an agency worker would you have signed a contract with an agency that then places you with an employer. However, when you are sent to work on a temporary basis for a business or company, the employer would provide instructions on the work that needs to be carried out on a temporary basis. In short, to qualify as an agency worker, the following criteria would need to be met:
- You have a contract with an agency
- The agency sends you to work for an employer on a temporary basis
- The work you do is controlled by an employer the agency has sent you to work for
- You are not a self-employed person
Workers Who Do No Qualify as Agency Workers
You would not qualify as an agency worker if the following applies to you:
- You are sent to a job on a temporary basis by an agency, but you are registered as self-employed
- Your terms of work are under a Managed Service Contract which is when an agency provides a specific form of service for a client – examples being cleaning and catering contracts
- You are employed as a temporary worker directly by a business or company which is referred to as “in-house temporary staffing bank”
- You found employment yourself or via a recruitment agency
- You are working for a company or business on secondment or loan from another employer
What is a Pay Between Assignment Contract?
As an agency worker, the agency you work for may request that you sign an agreement known as a “pay between assignment contract”. Having entered into this type of contract, you would be an employee of an agency which in short, means that your rights differ from other agency workers who have not signed a “pay between assignment contract”.
By entering into this type of contract with an agency, you would be paid by the agency should you have to wait between temporary jobs. It would also mean that you would not be considered as being an employee of the company you are temporarily working for should you be involved in an accident at work that leaves you suffering from some kind of injury or work-related health issue. In this instance, the liability would fall to the agency that you are under contract to.
What Employment Rights Apply to Agency Workers?
As an agency worker, you have certain employment rights even when you have entered into a “pay between assignment contract” with an agency. These are detailed below:
- That you are receive the minimum wage
- That no unlawful deductions are taken from your salary
- That you are not discriminated against for a disability, your age, gender reassignment, civil partnership, marriage, pregnancy, maternity, religion, belief, race, sexual orientation, sex
- That you are not discriminated against because you only work for an employer on a part-time basis
- That there is a limit on the number of hours worked during the course of a week (some exceptions may apply)
- That you are entitled to take paid holidays
- That you are accompanied when attending a disciplinary or grievance hearing
- That you are not fired or picked on for whistleblowing
- That you receive unpaid parental leave on the condition you meet the necessary criteria
- That you have the right to request flexible working hours on your return to work from parental leave providing the necessary criteria are met
- That you receive statutory sick pay (SSP), statutory maternity pay, statutory adoption pay, statutory paternity pay providing the qualifying conditions are met
- That the work environment is safe
- That you can file specific claims via an employment tribunal
What Employment Rights Do Not Apply to Agency Workers?
As an agency worker, you would not have the right to the following:
- File a claim for unfair dismissal having been fired without good cause or without notice
- To claim statutory redundancy pay
- To claim maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave
- To have a written statement of any main terms and conditions of your employment
How Do I Establish Who is Responsible for an Accident at Work?
You would need to establish who was responsible for an accident in the workplace bearing in mind that in some instances, the liability for an incident is clear cut whereas in others, it is not. With this said, the regulations and laws pertaining to agency worker accident claims can be complicated and as such, the responsibility is not that evident.
As such, it is best to seek legal advice so an accident at work solicitor can assess the circumstances surrounding the incident that left you injured before offering essential advice on how best to proceed in filing an agency worker accident claim against a negligent employer.
What is the Procedure Following an Accident at Work if as an Agency Worker, I Was Responsible?
If as an agency worker, you believe you were responsible or partly responsible for an accident at work that left you injured, you should still follow a specific procedure which is detailed below:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible
- Report the incident to the person in charge
- Make sure a record of the accident is entered into the Accident Report Book at the workplace you are employed by on a temporary basis
- If there is no accident report book, write down all the details of the accident and send a copy to the person who is employing you making sure you retain a copy of the report for your own records
- Should you not be able to report the incident yourself because your injuries prevent you from doing so, request that somebody else does this on your behalf
- Get a medical report of your injuries
As an agency worker, you have every right to make a report to the Health and Safety Executive, should you believe that the conditions in a workplace are not safe to work in. If you are a member of a trade union, you can also file a report to your representative should you think that a working environment is unsafe.
What Can be Included in an Agency Worker Accident at Work Claim?
Should you have been involved in an accident at work while working as an agency worker for an employer and sustained an injury, you have every right to file for compensation providing they are responsible for instructing you on what your job entails and they provide all the tools necessary to carry out a job. If an employer is liable for the injuries you sustained in the workplace, there are specific things that you can include in your claim which are listed below:
- General damages
- Special damages
General damages – this covers the following:
- The pain and suffering you had to endure
- Physical injury that could prevent you from working
- Any mental anguish you endured as a direct result of an accident at work
- Any loss of companionship you may have to cope with
- The loss of a unique career
- Hardship in finding a new career
Special damages – this covers the following:
- The medical expenses you incurred as a direct result of your injuries
- Your travel expenses to and from hospital or other medical facilities for necessary treatments. This includes how you get to the place you receive your treatments whether it is by train, taxi, bus or car
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of any future income because your injuries prevent you from working
- Care costs should you require help around the house on a daily basis or you have to go into a care home
What is the Time Limit for Reporting an Accident at Work?
As with all personal injury claims, there is a strict time limit associated with agency worker accident claims. The time limit starts from the date of an accident or when you became aware of your injuries, health issue or other work-related medical condition which is typically when it is diagnosed by a medical professional.
Failing to file a claim within this timeline would fall foul of the statutory time limit which in short, means you would not be able to claim the compensation you may be entitled to even if an employer failed to keep you safe in a workplace you were sent to by an agency.
Should You File a Claim Following an Accident at Work?
If, as an agency worker you were involved in a workplace accident that left you with an injury, whether minor or more severe, it could mean that you are unable to work for a period of time or it could mean you cannot work for much longer. As such, you could be put under tremendous financial pressure, leaving you unable to pay your bills. It could also mean that you incur a lot of out-of-pocket expenses through not fault of your own and as a direct result of your injuries. As such, you would have right to claim back by filing an accident at work claim against a negligent employer.
You would need to prove you were an “employee” of the company or business you were working for on a temporary basis. As such, seeking legal advice is essential so that you are on the right track from the outset of filing an agency worker accident claim. By law, all UK employers must have in place liability insurance which covers accidents that leave employees injured, suffering from a medical disorder or work-related health issue.
The amount of compensation you may be awarded in a successful agency worker accident claim would be paid by the company’s/employer’s insurers whether they decide to settle out of court or if they choose to have your claim go before a judge in court.
Working with a No Win No Fee Solicitor as an Agency Worker
You may be put off filing an agency worker accident claim against a negligent employer because of the cost of seeking legal representation. However, most solicitors offer a no obligation, initial consultation which is typically free of charge. This allows a solicitor the chance to assess a claim and to establish who could be held liable for any injuries you sustained as an agency worker when working temporarily for an employer.
Once your case has been assessed, a solicitor would offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis which in short, means that you would not have the worry of finding the money for legal representation when you need it the most. You would sign a contract known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which outlines the percentage you agreed to pay the solicitor which is commonly referred to as a “success fee” because you would only pay this when you are awarded the compensation you were seeking on a successful agency worker accident claim.
A Conditional Fee Agreement also sets out the Terms and Conditions of the contract and as such, having entered into a CFA with you, a solicitor takes on all the responsibility should your claim not be successful and as such, there would be nothing to pay for the legal services they provided in an agency worker accident claim.