The Conduct of Employment Agencies Regulations 2003

It’s a long title, but these Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations are important for Limited Company Contractors (or Personal Service Companies) and agency temps.

These regulations were introduced in April 2004 (2005 in Northern Ireland) and were updated in 2010. They provide a framework of minimum standards that govern the conduct of the private recruitment industry in the UK (and supplement the 1973 Employment Agencies Act 1973).

Here we look at what they mean and why they are important.

They essentially provide protection for what is known as ‘work-seekers’ – those looking for either temporary or permanent employment. Any breach of the regulations is a criminal offence.

They cover Agencies and Employment Businesses which provide temporary and permanent staff to end-hiring companies (but entertainment and modelling agencies / businesses have their own separate rules; local councils, certain educational institutions, trade unions, certain professional members bodies, charities and services provided for ex-members of HM forces or for people released from prisons and other institutions are not covered by these Regulations).

Employment Agencies are defined as:

Companies that find permanent work for work-seekers who are employed and paid directly by the employer – they have permanent employment with the end company (or a fixed term PAYE contract).

Employment Businesses are defined as:

Companies that provide temps to organisations. The Employment business engages a work-seeker under a contract with them, and the temp then works under the supervision of someone else at a hiring organisation. Temps are paid by the employment business, not the company they’re supplied to.

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