Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


School of Business

First Advisor

Ms. Louise Murphy


The use of temporary agency workers in Ireland has increased consistently in Ireland over the last 20 years. They provide a readily available, flexible and skilled resource that can help businesses to meet market demands quickly and effectively.

On December 11th 2011 the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Worker) Act 2012 came into effect in Ireland. This Act transposed the Directive on Temporary Agency Work (2008/104/EC) and it stated that all temporary agency workers must have equal treatment, in relation to their basic working conditions, as if they had been directly recruited by the hirer to do the same job.

This dissertation focuses on the impact the legislation has had in Ireland since it came into force. A literature review was carried out at the outset of the study. This revealed that the information available for temporary agency workers in Ireland is very limited. In order to collect primary data, one-to-one interviews and online surveys were undertaken. The interviews were conducted with a representative from SIPTU, ICTU and Ibec while the online surveys were issued to 109 recruitment consultants.

The findings of this study are that the Act has not yet made a significant impact on how temporary agency workers are being used in Ireland. All three interview respondents voiced this opinion independently. The reasons cited were the poor economy, the unsophisticated temporary agency worker model in this country and that trade unions had already negotiated better terms and conditions through collective bargaining by the time the Act was introduced.

Going forward there are two actions which could increase the impact of the Act and these are; improved awareness among temporary agency workers of its existence and the introduction of the Swedish Derogation. This research shows that increased awareness would be hugely beneficial to the most vulnerable temporary agency workers while introduction of the Swedish Derogation in its current form would not be a favourable option for agency workers.

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