http://www.cwu.org/q-amp-a.htmlQ. What is a 'PBA' Contract?
A. A 'PBA' Contract is a Pay Between Assignment contract which is a permanent contract of employment and pays the agency worker between assignments i.e. during the periods when they are not working and when there are no available suitable assignments for the agency worker. Q. Why is a 'PBA' Contract different from other agency (Manpower) contracts?
A. The main difference is that after 12 weeks in a given job the agency worker on a PBA contract will not be entitled to the same pay as the permanent worker which is unlike other agency workers on zero hours contracts. Q. Is this legal?
A. Yes, it is clearly permissible within the Agency Regulations. Q. Does the agency worker have to be aware of these specific terms before working with the employment agency?
A. Yes, the Government guidelines clearly states that the employment agency (Manpower) should explain the terms of the contract to the agency worker so that they can make an informed decision as to whether they are willing to agree to forgo equal treatment on pay and enter into a permanent contract with them. Q. Does the employment contract have to state this?
A. Yes, there is a requirement for the contract to contain a statement to the effect that entering into such a contract means that the agency worker does not have any entitlement to equal pay as set out in the regulations. Q. What is the rate of pay between assignments?
A. The Agency Regulations state that the rate of pay between assignments must be at least 50% of an assignment, at least National Minimum Wage (NMW) and calculated using a reference period. The reference period on the Manpower contract is the 12 weeks immediately proceeding the period of pay between assignments.
[bg2ads][/bg2ads] Q. What other terms should the 'PBA' Contract state as far as the regulations are concerned?
A. The contract needs to state the following:
minimum pay rates and their basis of calculation;
location of work; minimum and maximum expected hours
Manpower 'PBA' Contracts state a minimum of 4 hours and maximum of 48 hours but basic hours of work are also laid out (usually 40 hours);
nature of work. Q. Does the exemption only cover pay?
A. Yes. All agency workers, including those on 'PBA' Contracts are entitled to equal treatment in relation to, night work, rest periods, rest breaks and annual leave after 12 weeks in a given job. Q. Can the contract be terminated whilst between assignments?
A. Pay Between Assignments must be at least 4 weeks pay before the contract can be terminated. Q. Do I have to sign this contract and what happens if I refuse?
A. You can't be forced to sign a PBA contrac; however the agency won't employ you if you don't. Q. I've already signed a PBA. Can I get out of it?
A. No. As a contract of employment it is binding between the two parties. You would have to resign to get out of it. Q. Why are these PBA contracts allowed?
A. Because it is permissable as a loophole within the agency regulations which we are campaigning to close.
Listen to the podcast of Sally Bridge talking to Simon Sapper about the importance of the campaign and how the exploitation of agency workers impacts on young people, in particular.
Checkout the Agency workers directive factsheet for more info. (Link not working,might be the one in this forum)
Got another question? Contact Sally Bridge on firstname.lastname@example.org
or 0208 971 7272.