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Agency worker wins claim against Royal Mail over conditions

Posted: 3rd April 2018   In: Business Employment

An agency worker who was not provided with the ‘same basic working and employment conditions’ as regular employees has won his claim of unequal treatment.

The case involved Mr D Kocur, who had been supplied to Royal Mail by an agency.

He worked for the company for 12 weeks, triggering his entitlement to the same basic working and employment conditions as he would have received had he been recruited directly by Royal Mail.

However, he did not enjoy the same conditions as his colleagues who were regular employees.

While the regular workers were paid a for a full hour’s lunch break each day, agency workers were only paid for 30 minutes of the break.

Agency workers also only received 28 annual leave days compared to 30.5 days for regular workers.

On the other hand, agency workers earned an hourly wage of £10.50, while regular workers received £9.60 per hour.

Mr Kocur claimed that he should be entitled to the same working hours, paid rest breaks and annual leave as regular workers.

The Employment Tribunal rejected his claim, ruling that his higher hourly pay compensated for his lesser entitlements.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has now overturned that decision. It ruled that the company had breached Mr Kocur’s entitlement to annual leave and rest periods equal to those of his colleagues.

The failure to provide him with 2.5 days' additional leave could not be "compensated for" by an enhanced hourly rate. Similarly, the fact that he was paid more overall for the whole shift did not change the fact that he was paid significantly less for the rest break.

However, the EAT also ruled that agency workers and regular employees were not required to have precisely equal working hours as this would remove the flexibility that comes with an agency/hirer relationship.

Please contact Robert Bedford if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.