Can an employment agency legally withhold payment to me?

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 prohibit employment businesses from withholding payment to work-seekers in certain circumstances. For the purposes of the regulations an “employment business” is a business that employs or engages work-seekers under a contract who in turn works under the supervision of another person. This practice is often referred as “temping”.

In what circumstances is an employment business prohibited from withholding payment to a work-seeker?

An employment business is not allowed to withhold from a work-seeker the whole or any part of any payment in respect of any work done by the work-seeker on any of the following grounds:

Non-receipt of payment from the hirer in respect of the supply of any service provided by the employment business to the hirer

The fact that a hirer has not paid the employment business is not a lawful ground for which the employment business can withhold payment to a work-seeker.

The work-seeker’s failure to produce documentary evidence authenticated by the hirer of the fact that the work-seeker has worked during a particular period of time

Ordinarily an employment business will require a work-seeker to complete timesheets confirming the hours worked by that work-seeker. Normally an employment business will require the work-seeker to ensure that the timesheet is signed by the hirer at the end of each day or at the end of each week.  

Quite often in practice hirers refuse to sign timesheets where, for example, they are not happy with the standard of work carried out by a work-seeker.

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For more information on:

  • The work-seeker not having worked during any period other than that to which the payment relates
  • Any matter within the control of the employment business
  • What about where an employment business merely threatens to withhold payment?