If you’re doing temp work, you might be on a ‘pay-between-assignment’ contract, which are sometimes also callled ‘Swedish derogation’ contracts.
Pay-between-assignments contracts are often not good contracts to be on. Some agencies use them to scam you. If you have the choice not to be on a pay-between-assignments contract, take it.
But if you’re on one already and you don’t have a choice, it’s worth knowing how much your agency is supposed to pay you between assignments.
This article explains:
- that while you’re working, a pay-between-assignments contract makes no difference to your pay
- how to work out how much you should be earning between your assignments
- how to watch out for ‘fake work’ scams.
1) While you’re working, a pay-between-assignments contract makes no difference to your pay
While you’re working, those contracts don’t make a difference to your pay. You’re entitled to the hourly rate as normal. But a pay-between-assignment contract means that you’re supposed to be paid between your assignments as well. In other words: while you’re not working.
Here are the steps you need to take to work out how much you should be getting between your assignments.
2) If your average wage over the last twelve weeks is double the minimum wage, you should get the minimum wage between assignments
Different age groups have different minimum wages.
If, for example, you’re 25 or over, your minimum wage is £7.50.
The first step to working out what you should be paid between assignments is to double that rate for your age group.
If you’re 25, double the minimum wage of £7.50 is £15.
If you’re sure that your average wage over the last twelve weeks is less than £15, then between assignments you’re entitled to the minimum wage. End of story.
In that case, you can skip straight down to point 6.
If you think there’s a chance that your average wage over the last twelve weeks could be more than double the minimum wage for your age group, then you have to follow steps 3, 4, and 5 to work it out.
3) Count how many hours you worked in the last twelve weeks and how much you were paid
First, you need to work out how many hours you worked and how much you earned for every assignment you did in the last twelve weeks.
Either use the information on your payslip. Or, if you’ve kept track of your hours and hourly pay yourself, use that.
And if you haven’t, it’s a good idea to start tracking your own hours and pay. It’s the only way to check that your agency hasn’t made any mistakes.
4) Work out your average earnings per hour over the last twelve weeks
There are three steps to this:
First work out how many hours you worked over the last twelve weeks.
Then work out how much you earned in total for the last twelve weeks.
Then divide the total earnings by the number of hours you worked.
Here’s an example.
Imagine that in the last twelve weeks you’ve been working on two different assignments.
The first one paid you £15 an hour for five weeks, and you were working 40 hours a week.
The second one paid you £16 an hour for seven weeks, and you were working 35 hours a week.
So to work out how many hours you worked for assignment one, you work out 5 weeks of 40 hours:
5 x 40 = 200
For assignment two, it’s seven weeks of 35 hours.
7 x 35 = 245
So your total hours over the last twelve weeks are 245 + 200 = 445 hours.
For assignment one you worked 200 hours at £15 an hour.
200 x 15 = £3,000
For assignment two you worked 245 hours at £16 an hour.
245 x 16 = £3,920
Add those two together:
£3,00 + £3,920 = £6,920
So your total pay over the twelve weeks was £6,920.
Hourly average wage over 12 weeks
You divide the total earnings by the number of hours you worked.
£6,920 ÷ 445
And that works out as £15.55
So your average hourly wage over the last 12 weeks is £15.55 an hour.
5) For every hour you don’t work on a pay-between-assignments contract, you’re entitled to half of that average
The amount you’re entitled to be paid between assignments is half of the amount you earned on average for the last twelve weeks.
So you do £15.55 ÷ 2
That works out at £7.76.
So you would be entitled to £7.76 per hour between assignments.
Adrian Gregory, who runs temp agency Extraman in London, has written about this on our Howbox ‘Ask‘ forum:
“When you’re working this out, the most important thing is to know the average number of hours you’ve worked over the last 12 weeks so that you can work out what you’ve earned on an average week.”
See his full post here.
6) Watch out for ‘fake work’ scams
Unfortunately, some dodgy agencies put temps on pay-between-assignments contracts so they can run ‘fake work’ scams to avoid paying you between assignments.
We explain what to watch out for on this kind of scam here.
For this reason, it’s best to avoid these kind of contracts altogether if you possibly can.
If you’re temping, you should also be getting holiday pay. It’s a good idea to check that the amount you’re getting is right, as we have heard of some agencies scamming people out of their holiday pay. Here’s how holiday pay works for temps.
Has this information helped you? Is there anything wrong with this? Tell us about it! firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you on a pay-between-assignments contract? Do you get paid when you’re not working? Does your agency explain how to work it out? Do they get it right?