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How do recruitment agencies work?

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Employment agencies find job placements, sometimes called ‘assignments’ for agency workers. Companies pay the agency a fee to hire workers for them. Your contract of employment or contract for service is likely to be with the agency rather than with the company where you work.

The agency should give you a copy of your employment contract or contract of service. You are entitled to holiday pay, rest breaks, the National Minimum Wage, and no unlawful deductions from wages. You are covered by Health and Safety and anti-discrimination legislation. In some cases you may be able to get sick pay and maternity pay. (this will be stated on your contract)

If the agency does not find work for you, you can join other employment agencies.

  • No employer, employment agency or gangmaster should ever keep your passport or identity papers.
  • It is against the law in the UK for an employment agency to charge for finding you a job!

If you think the agency is treating you unfairly, you may contact :

Gangmasters Licensing Authority
GLA was established to assure that employees receive their rights.   Tel: 084 5602 5020   Email.

Employment Agency Standards Helpline on 0845 955 5105   (09:30-16:30 Mon to Fri),

DEL   Department of Employment and Learning

See an employment adviser for more information about agency workers’ rights.