Agency Conduct Regulations

What are they?

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Business Regulations are a set of laws designed to protect vulnerable agency workers. They are usually known as the ‘Conduct Regulations’ and also, less commonly, ‘Agency Regulations’. They protect workers from issues such as:

  • Handcuff clauses – where agencies prevent workers from working directly for clients for a set period of time (e.g. one year).
  • Temp to perm fees – where agencies charge either the worker or the client – or both – when the worker decides to become a permanent employee of the client.
  • Late payments – in cases where agencies refuse to pay workers because they have not yet been paid by their client.

The Conduct Regulations came into force in 2004, and all employment agencies are bound by them. 

What are they?

If you work through your own limited company, then you are able to “opt-out” of these regulations. Indeed many contractors report that agencies will strongly encourage them to do so. It is likely that as a contractor you will be given some sort of form which, if you sign, will enable you to opt-out of the regulations.

Your contract may include clauses with the effect of opting you out. You should think carefully before making a decision to opt-out of the regulations. There is no "right" answer and individual circumstances and preferences are always important.