The Conduct Regulations

When you work through a recruitment agency, you’ll be asked to decide if you wish opt in or opt out of the Conduct Regulations.

Here we’ll explain what the Conduct Regulations are and help you make an informed decision on whether you want to opt in or out.

What are the Conduct Regulations?

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 are regulations which govern the recruitment industry in the UK. They regulations were implemented to ensure recruitment businesses treat both candidates and clients fairly.

The regulations apply when you are supplied through a recruitment agency, it doesn’t matter how you are paid.

The Conduct Regulations Cover:
Information provided to the client by the contractor and vice versa
What contractual documentation needs to be in place
When a contractor must be paid
When transfer fees can be charged to the client
Non-compliance with these regulations can be reported to the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) which will investigate any claims. Companies found in violation of these regulations may face prosecution or prohibition proceedings.

Disadvantages Opting Out

These are the main disadvantages of opting out which you may wish to consider:
Loss of protection regarding payment if the client fails to pay the agency for your completed work.
The agency can use restrictive covenants to restrict the worker from going to a competitor agency or client.
There are regulations relating to temporary-to-permanent fees, which can negatively impact the client if they decide to hire you as an employee or direct contractor.

Advantages of Opting Out

Here are the main advantages of option out:
Opting out allows you to take control of your work situation. By negotiating terms that suit your needs by customising your working hours for example.
Opting out may assist negotiations with your agency for better pay rates and other additional benefits.
You do not need to ensure that the agency has sufficient information under the regulations about your skills to place you in the first place, which can be a time-consuming process.

In summary…

  • A worker cannot choose which parts of the Conduct Regulations to opt out of, a contractor would have to opt-out of all the Conduct Regulations or none at all.
  • The decision to opt out of the regulations is entirely yours and you will be provided with a form to state your decision, you must agree to do so before your assignment starts.
  • It’s important to note that contractors working outside of IR35 are advised to opt-out of the Conduct Regulations to support their deemed status.
  • Workers are free to change their Conduct Regulations status by opting out of the Conduct Regulations at a later date (or opting back in, if they have already opted out), but they must give notice to Bishopsgate (which in turn must give notice to the Recruitment Agency) and they will only be able to change their status after their existing assignment has come to an end; a worker cannot change their Conduct Regulations status part way through an assignment.