Agency, relief and off-payroll workers policy

Policy overview

In the successful delivery of our services, we recognise the vital role of:

  • temporary agency workers
  • relief workers
  • other off-payroll workers play

This policy sets out the standards and procedures to ensure they are appropriately engaged, trained and deployed. It is essential that the use of these temporary resources is cost-effective and supports the delivery of high-quality services. 

We are committed to equality of opportunity in recruitment, employment, transfer and promotion. We will treat agency, relief and off-payroll workers fairly and consistently, regardless of: 

  • age 
  • disability 
  • gender reassignment 
  • marriage and civil partnerships 
  • pregnancy and maternity 
  • race (which includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins) 
  • religion or belief 
  • sex (formerly gender) 
  • sexual orientation 

This policy supports our commitment to diversity and equality. It ensures that we comply with existing legislation and best practice. 


We will only use agency workers to provide temporary additional resources. This allows for flexibility on a short-term basis from time to time. We will hire temporary agency workers from our contracted agency provider. We may engage them to assist with: 

  • occasional work, such as one-off projects 
  • response to planned or unplanned peaks 
  • sudden increases in demand for our services 
  • the absence of employees (for example, due to holiday or sickness or other planned and unplanned absences) 
  • cover for a leaver, when appointment from the recruitment process has not been possible due to time restraints or lack of suitable candidates  
  • cover, or backfill, or for a secondment 

We should not use agency workers to cover for maternity or adoption leave. These are planned, known absences which may for be a longer period of time. Generally, we would recruit to provide cover using the appropriate recruitment procedure. 

We cannot use agency workers to cover for employees involved in strike action.  

Service areas directly engage relief workers. We include them on a register of relief workers. We will call upon them and offer work on an ad hoc basis when the need arises. Relief workers are under no obligation to accept work. We are under no obligation to offer it.  

We define off-payroll workers as contractors, consultants or interim workers. We may engage them directly to deliver a specific requirement. They are generally paid via invoice. We will assess our IR35 obligations to ensure we provide the most appropriate mechanism for pay.  

Working for a better future graphic


Any related managers toolkits, letters and forms for this policy are available on Lincs2Learn.