Agency workers

If there's a problem with the agency

If you have a problem with an employment agency, it's a good idea to try and resolve it informally to start with.

If you have tried this or it's not possible, you can make a formal complaint to the agency. By law, they only have to consider complaints made by employees, but it's good practice for them to consider complaints from workers too.

You should put your complaint in writing to the agency.

The agency should have a complaints procedure that includes:

  • holding a meeting to hear the complaint
  • allowing you to bring someone you work with or a trade union representative to the meeting
  • trying to find a way to resolve the problem

If the agency is a member of a trade body, you could also consider making a formal complaint to them. For example, if the agency is a member of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), you could make a complaint to them.

Making a claim to an employment tribunal

If the agency or hiring organisation have refused you a right under the Agency Workers Regulations, or treated you unfairly after you asked for something you have a right to, you can make a claim to an employment tribunal.

If you're classed as an employee and are dismissed for asserting a right, this automatically counts as unfair dismissal.

If you're not receiving at least National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage, you can either:

Reporting the agency

The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) enforces certain regulations and can investigate if the agency:

  • is refusing to pay what you're owed
  • charges a fee to find you work
  • does not tell you they’re going to charge you for extra services or uniforms
  • charges you a fee for you to become directly employed by a hiring organisation
  • is getting an umbrella company to pay you and charging you fees for it, and you did not agree to this

The EAS is a regulator of agencies, so they can investigate the agency but may not be able to recover lost money for you. 

Contact the EAS on GOV.UK.