08 / 3 / 2011 4.30pm
These are the right to reasonable paid time off to attend ante-natal appointments and the right to be suspended from work if an insurmountable risk related to pregnancy is identified and an alternative assignment cannot be found.
Although the ‘hirer’ has general responsibilities towards agency workers under health and safety legislation, responsibility for these new rights does, in the main, lie with the agency.
Responsibility of the agency
The agency needs to ask the hirer to perform a workplace risk assessment and make a reasonable adjustment if necessary. If this is not possible, the agency needs to seek alternative suitable work with another hirer and ensure that the agency worker is paid for any period of the assignment when she could not work due to a health and safety risk.
Responsibility of the hirer
It is the hirer’s responsibility to carry out a work place risk assessment and where a risk is identified, the hirer is obliged to make adjustments to remove the risk. If an adjustment is not possible or reasonable and would not remove the risk, the hirer should inform the agency who will endeavour to find suitable alternative work.