You and the Law – 1st November 2011

Agency workers

I work for an agency doing night work and have worked for the same firm for more than two years.  We have been looking forward to the change in the law when agency workers get the same pay as the people they are working with, but the firm’s bosses say this won’t happen because we work for a different firm.  LH

From October, agency workers qualified for equal treatment as if they had been recruited directly by the hirer.   You will continue to work for a different firm the employment agency (also known as an employment
business) but the agency will now have to pay you the same as employees of the firm where you have been working for two years.  There’s a 12-week qualifying period, however, and time spent working for the firm/hirer before October does not count towards this.  You will also be entitled to the same holidays, rest periods etc, and should have access to any facilities they enjoy.  If for any reason your pay and conditions haven’t changed, contact the confidential Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800-917 2368.

No conferring

I am fighting a medical negligence case.  I have been advised by my solicitor that the two independent doctors who examined me for opposing sides have to communicate together, probably on the telephone, and possibly compile a joint report. If this is the right thing to do, how can they be independent?  TS

Where two independent experts put opposing views, a judge, who is likely to lack the expertise of medical witnesses for example, may have to decide between them. The aim of the joint report is to clarify the issues in dispute between the experts and see if there is any common ground; if not they must state plainly why they hold differing opinions.  The theory is that you’re more likely to get the correct result and keep costs down if the experts put their heads together before the case comes to court.

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