The Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012 was passed into law in Ireland on 16 May 2012 and provides that all temporary agency workers must have equal treatment as if they were regular workers directly recruited by the hirer from their first day at work, in respect of:

  • Pay
  • Working time
  • Rest periods
  • Rest breaks during the working day
  • Overtime
  • Night work
  • Public holidays & Annual leave
  • Access to collective facilities

Who is covered by this Act?

The Act applies to agency workers employed by an employment agency who are temporarily assigned to work for and under the direct supervision & direction of another organisation (the hirer).

Who is not covered by the Act?

The Act does not cover direct recruits hired on fixed-term contracts, independent contractors and those employed under a managed service contract, which is a contract for services where the contractor is responsible for managing and delivering the service.

The Act also does not apply to work done on:

  • The National Internship Scheme
  • Work Placement Schemes administrated by the FAS
  • Any publicly-funded vocational training or re-training scheme specified by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation.

Employment and working conditions

Since 16 May 2012 (the right to equal pay has retrospective effect to 5 December 2011) temporary agency workers covered by this Act have the right to the same basic employment conditions as if they had been hired directly by the employer under a contract of employment. Before taking on the agency worker, the hirer must provide the employment agency with such information as it requires to comply with its obligations under the Act and indemnify the Agency if the information is incorrect.

These employment and working conditions are as follows:

Working time

This includes the duration of:

  • Working time
  • Rest periods
  • Breaks
  • Night work
  • Annual leave and public holidays.


This is defined as base pay and consists of:

  • Basic pay
  • Shift premium
  • Piece work
  • Overtime
  • Unsocial hours worked
  • Sunday work

The definition of pay in the Act does not include:

  • Occupational pension schemes
  • Sick pay
  • Bonuses
  • Maternity pay or benefit in kind.

The right to equal pay is backdated to 5 December 2011.


Equal treatment as regards pay does not apply if the agency worker has a permanent contract with the agency and is paid a certain sum between assignments,

Access to facilities

All temporary agency workers must have equal access to collective facilities and amenities such as:

  • Canteen facilities
  • Car parking & transport facilities
  • Shower facilities
  • Common rooms
  • Childcare facilities
  • Workplace gyms
  • Vending machines