Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Working Conditions - Temporary Agency Workers

Temporary Agency Workers

The Directive on Temporary Agency Work (2008/104/EC) defines a general framework applicable to the working conditions of temporary workers in the European Union. The Directive aims to guarantee a minimum level of effective protection to temporary workers and to contribute to the development of the temporary work sector as a flexible option for employers and workers.

The Directive lays down the principle of non-discrimination, regarding the essential conditions of work and of employment, between temporary workers and workers who are recruited by the user company.

The Directive ensures greater transparency and increases confidence in the temporary work sector. It thus improves protection for the workers concerned while giving greater flexibility to companies.

The principle of equal treatment also applies to the protections and rights accorded to permanently employed pregnant workers and permanently employed mothers who are breast-feeding. The same rights are to be accorded to their temporarily employed counterparts.

The Directive applies to the contracts or to the relations which connect a worker with a temporary agency.

The user company should keep temporary workers informed of any permanent vacancies. Member States must ensure that any clauses preventing the conclusion of a contract of employment or an employment relationship between the user undertaking and the temporary worker are null and void or may be declared null and void.

Temporary workers should not be charged any recruitment fees. They should have equal access to amenities and collective services at work. Member States should facilitate training access for temporary workers.

The Directive, social partner consultation documents and other preparatory texts are available.


Preparatory Documents

  • Proposal for a Directive on working conditions for Temporary Workers -  COM (2002) 0149
  • Amended proposal for a Directive on working conditions for Temporary Workers - COM (2002) 0701
  • Flexibility in working time and security for workers:
    - First phase of consultation with the Social Partners - SEC (95) 1540/3 
    - Second phase of consultation with the Social Partners - SEC (96) 658
  • European Parliament Working Paper: Atypical Work in the European Union (September 1999)


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