In what way are agency workers' maternity rights enhanced by the Agency Workers Regulations 2010?
Once a pregnant agency worker has completed the 12-week qualifying period under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/93), they will have the right to be given time off for antenatal care by the temporary work agency and the hirer and to be paid for the time off by the agency. If the agency or hirer unreasonably refuse to allow the agency worker to take time off, an employment tribunal may order either or both parties to pay them an amount equivalent to twice the amount to which they would have been entitled, had they not been refused the time off, depending on the extent of the agency or hirer's responsibility for the breach.
The pregnant worker will also, potentially, have the right to paid time off by the agency for the remainder of an assignment if it is unsuitable for a pregnant worker.
The right to paid time off for the remainder of an assignment will arise only if certain conditions are met, namely that:
- a risk assessment indicates that the agency worker's current role is unsuitable for pregnant workers;
- no reasonable adjustments can be made to make the assignment suitable for the pregnant worker; and
- the temporary work agency cannot find a suitable alternative assignment either at that hirer or another hirer.