Staff Shortages in Manufacturing: Agency Workers, Contingency Planning & Retention Incentives

As production ramps up in the lead up to Christmas, many manufacturing and engineering businesses are struggling to operate efficiently on a skeleton workforce, leading to a heavy reliance on agency workers to plug staff shortages and meet demand.

Unfortunately, engaging agency workers can be a real grey area for employers and there are a number of tricky employment and health and safety issues to navigate, from understanding their 12-week rights and managing conflict with permanent staff, to getting them to wear correct PPE and buy into your health and safety culture. Plus, who’s liable if they cause an accident onsite? 

Join our experts for an informative 45-minute webinar shedding light on the complex employer-agency relationship from an employment law and health and safety perspective, followed by a live Q&A.

11 November | 14:00 - 14:45

When taking on agency staff to provide support during busy periods, such as the run-up to Christmas or when absence levels are rocketing, there are some vital legal and safety obligations to be aware of, and processes you need to follow, to protect your business from claims, reduce the risk of an accident occurring and keep the peace between agency staff and your permanent workforce.

Technically, unlike temporary workers or permanent staff, agency workers are employed by the agency, which causes endless issues when they are working alongside your existing team. For example, if you receive a grievance regarding an agency worker, how are you expected to deal with this? Or where health and safety is concerned, how do you handle agency workers being supplied incorrect PPE (or in some cases no PPE) by the agency? And even though they’re not employed by you, what legal rights do they acquire after 12 weeks’ work at your business?

Of course, agency workers aren’t the only way to ensure you have a full workforce as we head into the festive season. As part of this session, we’ll explore methods of reducing staff absences and improving retention, such as introducing bonus schemes or other benefits, and the contractual changes you need to consider before rolling these out.

And with any staff shortages having possible safety implications, we’ll also cover the health and safety contingency plans you need to bring into play to cover you in the event of high levels of absence during the winter period due to isolation, winter bugs and bogus short-term absences.

What will I learn?

During this comprehensive 45-minute webinar, our Solicitor and Head of Team, Angela Carter, and Regional Health & Safety Manager, Oliver Williams, will walk you through:

  • The dos and don’ts of keeping everyone safe when it comes to managing agency staff;
  • How agency workers’ rights vary under the Agency Workers Directive if they’ve been engaged with you for more than 12 weeks;
  • Dealing with unacceptable behaviour from agency workers, such as inappropriate banter or bullying;
  • Health and safety contingency planning for loss of workforce, both in the short-term and long-term; and
  • What contractual changes you need to consider for your permanent workers when introducing bonus schemes or other benefits.

At the end of the session, our hosts will be taking your questions on the topics discussed. In recognition of the limited time we have available, we recommend submitting your specific queries in advance via the registration form. All questions submitted before or during the webinar will be answered in a helpful FAQ which we’ll share with all registrants after the session.

Register below

Back to Business Hub

Throughout the pandemic, our Employment Law and Health & Safety specialists have continued to produce free, practical guidance and templates for employers.
To access all these resources, plus be notified when new resources are added in relation to COVID-19, register for free now.

Better with WorkNest

Protecting organisations 
and achieving results

Owing to our unrivalled support and expertise, we’re consistently high achievers when it comes to protecting organisations and achieving results.


More solicitors

We have six times the number of qualified solicitors, practising for over five years, than any of our larger competitors. We’re also recognised by the Legal 500.


Tribunal win rate

With a dedicated adviser in your corner to guide you through the process, you’re over eight times more likely to defeat a Tribunal claim if advised by WorkNest.


Years' experience

Our Health & Safety Team has over 350 years’ combined experience of supporting organisations with their compliance, so you can be sure you’re in safe hands.


Less risk

Our advice, support and safety management systems can reduce the risk of prosecution by 50% and cut the cost of any fine imposed by more than 85%.

Who we work with

Proud to support over 
40,000 UK employers

Our clients range from small businesses with fewer than 50 staff at a single location, through to large household names employing thousands of people at multiple sites across the UK. Whatever your size or sector, we have solutions to suit your needs.

Get your FREE consultation

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.


Get your FREE consultation

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.

Get your FREE consultation

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.

Register your interest

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.

Get your FREE consultation

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.

Download your FREE guide

Submit your details below.

Request a callback

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.

Need some help?

Call our team now on:

0345 226 8393

Request a Callback

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.

Request a Callback
Hi, how can we help?
Click the button below to chat to an expert.

Get your FREE consultation

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.