Last month, the UK’s Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled on a range of claims brought by agency workers in the case of Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd and ano v Kocur and ano, providing clarification on the UK’s Agency Worker Regulation.

The case dates to 2019, when a group of 50 agency workers filed a claim in the Leeds Employment Tribunal against Royal Mail and its staffing provider, Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd, claiming breaches of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010. Specifically, the workers alleged the companies breached Regulation 5, which gives agency workers the right to the same basic working and employment conditions as they would be entitled to as an employee of the hirer; and Regulation 13, which gives agency workers the right to be informed of any relevant vacant posts with the hirer.

Here’s how the tribunal ruled:

Regulation 5. The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the respondents were not in breach of Regulation 5 by providing their direct recruits with a 30-minute weekly training session, while agency workers were expected to continue working. They stated there was nothing in the AWR or EU Agency Workers Directive to suggest there must be equality of treatment in relation to the content of working time.

The tribunal also held there were no breaches of the equal treatment provisions in relation to pay, entitlement to breaks or overtime by Royal Mail and Angard giving direct employees first refusal in relation to overtime opportunities.

Regulation 13. The tribunal held that the right to be informed by the hirer of vacancies does not mean that agency workers are entitled to apply for and be considered for internal vacancies on the same terms as employees of the hirer. The tribunal held that the right under Regulation 13 is to be notified of vacancies and be given the same level of information as internal employees or direct recruits, not an equal eligibility to apply.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal also held that there was no breach of Regulation 5 arising from the fact that the agency workers’ shift lengths were 12 minutes longer than they would have been if the claimants were recruited directly.

“This will not be the last decision in this case with the outstanding issue of a pay rise to be dealt with, but the judgement together with earlier rulings, has provided much-needed clarification of the meaning of the AWR,” according to SIA’s report, Europe Legal Update Q4 2020, by Fiona Coombe, director of legal and regulatory research.