Agency Workers

Could any HR experts out there explain why a friend of mine, who is an agency worker, was told by HR this week, that he must end his contract 'for a 3 week break' & then he can sign a new one. He is a doctor who has had his initial 3 month contract extended several times & has now been in the same role for 15 months. The last extension ends at the end of this week & HR have told him the above. Why? They haven't given him a specific reason, only 'they have to' (then made a joke that they may find someone cheaper) Can anyone provide any insight please? Thanks, Jane

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  • Hi there

    Without knowing more about the specifics it is hard to comment.

    However it may be they have some concerns that your friend my at some point be considered an employee as opposed to a worker.  In which case the 3 week break would provide a break in service for the purposes of continuity of employment. Also as he approaches the 2 year mark, it would mean that he would not have continuity of service to make any claim for unfair dismissal or a reundancy payment (in the event he was able to argue he was an employee),as only employees can claim these.

    If it was a gap of 3 months of more it could be so that any backdated holiday pay claims could be avoided? Although these are now limited to two years.

    So in summary I suspect it is to do with employment status and the possible rights that arise from these.

    Hope this helps


    • Hi Sarah,

      Many thanks for your response, it makes sense. He actually has a new role lined up for October, so has no plans to stay, which his employers' do not know about. There have not been any issues, he is a high performer & well thought of & this has come out of the blue. Is there a point where you automatically become an employee as opposed to a worker, after a certain length of service? Or a point when you could argue that you were?

      Again, many thanks for your advice.


      • Someone correct me if I am wrong but according to the Agency Worker Regulations, once you have worked through the agency for 12 weeks, you are entitled to the same basic employment conditions such as the amount of annual leave that a direct worker has.

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