Hark specialise in providing job seekers with work that will suit them – we do this by being honest about our jobs – we’ll tell you about every aspect of the work and answer all your questions too. You will know exactly what to expect, and make an informed decision when choosing a new role.
There’s no point is us putting you into a role that is not right for you, you’ll be unsettled, and not perform to your best and probably leave after a few days which is no good for us or our clients either.
We’ll listen to you and take the time to find out what type of work you enjoy and the type of company you would like to work for. This way you’ll be happy in your work which is good news for you, us and our clients.
We take time to play matchmaker to clients and job seekers – fitting the right people to the right jobs!
Payment of Wages
Wages are paid on a weekly basis, one week in arrears. Method of payment will be by direct credit into a bank/building society account of your choice each Friday. You must have your own bank account or a joint bank account which you have access to. Should there be any changes in your circumstances, please inform us immediately. Payslips are issued to you by email, accessible by password – so you’re not waiting for the post.
HARK will make all deductions, as required by law, in respect of Income Tax and National Insurance contributions. We will require your National Insurance number as we are obliged by law to deduct National Insurance from your earnings and will tax you under the ‘Pay As You Earn’ (PAYE) scheme. During your assignment you may be required to document your hours on a weekly timesheet. You must complete the timesheet honestly and accurately.
Fraudulent completion of timesheets will be classed seriously, and may result in the termination of your assignment and/or disciplinary action being taken against you.
Hours of Work
The length of an assignment and the number of hours you work each week may vary. There may also be occasions when no work is available, and you are not entitled to receive any pay when you are not on an assignment.
When you begin an assignment, you will be advised of the start and finish times. You must make every effort to arrive in sufficient time to start work at your agreed start time. We take a serious view of punctuality unless it is caused by circumstances beyond your control, and may result in termination of the assignment.
Location of Work
You have no permanent place of work and your place of work will vary according to each assignment.
Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR)
After completing a 12 week AWR qualifying period with a Client, you will be entitled to receive the same basic employment and working conditions as a comparable employee of the client. This includes: basic pay, overtime rates and holiday pay etc. Your HARK representative will advise you of any applicable increases. Please note that the AWR qualifying period is affected by holiday, sickness and shutdown.
Subject to qualifying eligibility criteria, you will be automatically enrolled as a member of the pension scheme after you have worked for HARK for three months. If you wish to opt out of the scheme, you must follow the instructions provided to you shortly after your enrolment.
You will be required to make a weekly contribution to your pension and HARK will make a contribution too.
The level of contribution is as follows:
HARK 3% Agency Worker 5%
You will receive correspondence regarding the pension scheme during the course of your assignment with further details about the scheme, including conditions of eligibility.
In the event that you are unable to work, for any reason during your standard hours, you must contact HARK and your Line Manager, as soon as possible, at least one hour prior to your start time. Please make contact personally unless you are physically unable to do so. A voicemail message should be left if the phone is not answered. It is essential that you advise HARK every day that you are unable to work.
You will be entitled to receive statutory sick pay (SSP) if;
• You are on an assignment when you become sick.
• Your average weekly earnings are at or above the Lower Earnings Limit (set by the Government). If your average weekly earnings are less than the Lower Earnings Limit, you will not be entitled to SSP and no payment will be made.
• You are absent from work due to sickness for more than three days (the first three days of sickness absence are known as ‘waiting days’ and no SSP is paid for these first three days).
• You provide HARK with the following documentation:
o A self-certification form, if your absence lasts seven calendar days or less and / or;
o A ‘fit note’, which you must obtain from your doctor, if your absence lasts eight calendar days or more.
o It is possible that during a period of sickness, a client will request a replacement worker. If this is the case we will do our very best to put you back in with the client or find you an alternative assignment as soon as you are fit again.
Unauthorised absence, or failure to follow the correct absence reporting procedure, may result in the termination of your assignment and / or disciplinary action being taken against you.
HARK reserves the right to require workers to have a medical examination by an occupational Health Specialist or Independent Medical Adviser, with any report made by the doctor supplied to the Company. If it is necessary to seek information from your own doctor or specialist, this will be done in accordance with the Access to Medical Reports Act.
Maximum Working Hours
Under the Working Time Regulations, the maximum number of weekly working hours is an average of 48 hours per week over a 17 week reference period. If you would like to work more than 48 hours per week, your HARK Representative will provide you with a Working Time Opt-out Form. There is no obligation to sign the opt-out and with one week’s written notice you can end the agreement. If you do work more than 48 hours per week, it is recommended that you work no more than 60 hours per week for health and safety reasons.
Rest Periods and Breaks
You are entitled to the following rest breaks:
• 11 hours’ rest from work in each 24 hour period.
• A 20 minute break if the assignment lasts more than six hours per day.
• A minimum of one day’s rest from work each week or two consecutive days per fortnight.
• You must ensure that you have sufficient rest in order to protect your health and safety and that of your colleagues.
If you are under the age of 18, you;
• Cannot work more than eight hours in any day or 40 hours in any week.
• Cannot work more than five days in any week.
• Cannot work at night (working at least three hours in the period between 11pm and 6am).
• Are entitled to a rest break of 30 minutes if the assignment lasts more than 4½ hours.
The HARK holiday year runs from 1st April to 31st March.
You will begin accruing annual leave from the first day of your assignment.
You will accrue annual leave at a rate of 5.6 weeks per annum pro-rata. The amount you will be paid for the annual leave is calculated at a rate of 12.07% of all hours worked (which equates to 5.6 weeks in a complete year).
Your annual leave entitlement includes 8 statutory Bank Holidays. Therefore, you must request a Bank Holiday as holiday, if you wish to be paid for it (and you are not working).
All accrued annual leave must be taken during the holiday year in which it accrued and none may e carried forward to the following year. Any annual leave which has been accrued and not taken will be lost.
You are responsible for ensuring that paid annual leave is requested and taken. Prior to requesting a holiday, you will need to check that you have accrued sufficient holiday entitlement. If you have accrued sufficient holiday, you must complete a Holiday Form or send an email to your HARK Representative. The completion of a Holiday request does not mean that your holiday has been authorised. You will receive confirmation from HARK when the holiday has been authorised. You must provide notice that you wish to take a holiday – we require at least 1 week’s notice.
You may also be required to take holiday at certain times of the year e.g. during a company shutdown.
Client Rules and Regulations
You are required to comply with any rules, regulations, policies, procedures and practices that are specified by any client, for whom you are working, during an assignment. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action being taken against you.
During your assignment, you may be given access to the client’s IT system and you must at all times adhere to the client’s IT Policy. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action being taken against you.
Access to social networking sites during working hours is strictly forbidden unless authorisation is obtained from your Line Manager.
Your use of social networking sites may impact on HARK and its business. Such impact includes potentially causing damage to its reputation, loss of confidential information, or exposure to other liabilities such as claims of discrimination, harassment or workplace bullying. The content of any communications or comments posted on a social networking site must not damage or bring into disrepute HARK, its staff, clients or candidates. Therefore, if you use social networking sites, even where this is not in the workplace or is outside of working hours, you are prohibited from:
Engaging in any conduct or posting any comment which are detrimental to HARK or its clients.
Engaging in any conduct or posting any comments which could be derogatory to another person or third party or which could constitute unlawful discrimination or harassment.
Recording any confidential information regarding HARK’s (or any of HARK’s client companies) on any social networking site or posting comments about any business-related topics such as company performance.
You may be required to remove postings that breach the above guidelines.
Alcohol and Drugs
You are expected to present yourself at work in a fit condition and anyone reasonably believed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, such that it is believed they are a safety risk or unable to adequately perform their normal work, will be required to stop working immediately. They will also be subject to disciplinary action including termination of assignment, where appropriate.
Dress Code and Personal Appearance
You should present yourself for work in clothes that are smart, clean and tidy, as expected for business standards and appropriate to the type of assignment you are undertaking. Some clients may require specific dress standards or PPE to be worn for an assignment.
Equality and Diversity
HARKs agency workers are treated solely on the basis of their merits, abilities and potential and all recruitment, selection and training processes are free from discrimination on the grounds of the following protected characteristics:
• Gender re-assignment
• Marriage or civil partnership
• Pregnancy or maternity
• Race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin)
• Religion or belief
• Sexual orientation
Bullying, harassment and discrimination are unacceptable and should you be found to be subjecting colleagues, customers and/or clients to this behaviour, your assignment will be terminated with immediate effect. If you feel that you have been harassed, bullied or discriminated against during your assignment, please make your HARK Representative aware at the earliest possible opportunity. Complaints of this nature will be handled sensitively and will be investigated thoroughly.
Termination of Assignment
It is important to understand that there is a difference between your assignment with a Client being terminated and your registration with HARK being terminated. In accordance with your contract for services, an assignment can be ended at any time by yourself, the client or HARK. The termination of an assignment does not mean your registration has come to an end. When an assignment with a particular client comes to an end, HARK will endeavour to find you an alternative assignment which matches your knowledge, skills and experience.
If you wish to end your registration with you must do so in writing either via letter or email. Your P45 and outstanding holiday pay, if applicable, cannot be processed without a written resignation.
All pregnant workers are entitled to a minimum of 26 weeks’ ‘ordinary’ maternity leave (OML) and 26 weeks additional maternity leave (AML) regardless of length of service.
If you are pregnant, you must inform HARK in writing, by no later than the 15th week before the baby is due. At this time, you must also notify HARK in writing of whether you wish to take ‘ordinary’ or ‘additional’ maternity leave.
If you wish to change your return-to-work date, you must give a minimum of eight weeks’ written notice. Please note that when working in certain industries, it may be necessary to inform HARK and the Client of your pregnancy at an earlier stage due to health and safety reasons e.g. if you are working with certain chemicals.
You must take compulsory maternity leave in the two weeks after your baby is born or four weeks, if you are working in a factory.
Subject to the following eligibility criteria, pregnant workers will be eligible to receive up to 39 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). SMP is paid at 90% of your average weekly earnings for the first six weeks and 33 weeks at the lower of either the standard SMP rate, or 90% of your average gross weekly earnings. The remainder of any additional maternity leave will be unpaid.
In order to qualify to be paid SMP:
Your average weekly earnings must be at least equal to the lower earnings limit (LEL).
You must inform us of your pregnancy at least 15 weeks before your due date.
You must provide proof you’re pregnant (via aMATB1 Form).
You must have been working for HARK continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the ‘qualifying week’ (the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth). – You must be working in the ‘qualifying week’.
If you do not qualify for SMP, HARK will send you a SMP1 Form, which you can take to Jobcentre Plus who will advise if you qualify for maternity allowance, which is paid by the Government.
Shared Parental Leave
You may also be entitled to shared parental leave. Further details about shared parental leave can be found on the Gov.co.uk website. If this is something that you are interested in, please speak to your HARK Representative.
Paternity Leave and Pay
Paternity leave is available to the father of a newly born child, provided he has responsibility for the child’s upbringing. Eligible workers will be able to take either one week or two consecutive weeks’ paternity leave (not odd days) in the eight weeks following the birth of the child; this leave will be paid at the current statutory paternity pay rate (SPP).
To be eligible for paternity leave and pay:
• You must have been working for by HARK continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the ‘qualifying week’ (the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth).
• You must give the correct notice of 28 days. Your average weekly earnings must be at least equal to the lower earnings limit (LEL).
• You must notify HARK in writing, in the qualifying week, when the baby is due, when you wish to take your paternity leave and how much leave you want to take.
• You must provide a declaration confirming that you have, or expect to have, responsibility for the child’s upbringing and a copy of the MATB1 Form.
There is no statutory entitlement for time off to deal with bereavement. We will, however, work with you and endeavour to support you through such times. Any requests for time off will be dealt with on an individual basis and any time off may be taken as either unpaid leave and/or holiday, depending on your holiday accrual at the time of the request.
You have the right to reasonable unpaid time off work to deal with emergencies involving a ‘dependant’ – this could a husband, wife, partner, child, parent etc. An emergency could be any unexpected or sudden problem involving someone who depends on your help or care.
There’s no set amount of time allowed to deal with an unexpected event involving a dependant – it will vary depending on what the event is, but for most cases one or two days should be sufficient to deal with the problem.
You must let HARK know that you need time off at the earliest opportunity.
Health and Safety
HARK and its clients take your health and safety very seriously and we expect you to do so too. This handbook outlines some general rules, which we expect you to adhere to at all times during an assignment. It is likely that there will be additional client specific rules and regulations, and these will be explained to you by HARK and the client where you are working. This may take the form of a client specific induction.
Failure to adhere to any health and safety procedures, rules and regulations will almost certainly result in the termination of your assignment and disciplinary action being taken against you.
In order to help you remain healthy and safe during an assignment, HARK will ensure that:
• The client has an appropriate written Health and Safety Policy.
• The client has appropriate employment insurance to cover agency workers.
• The client has carried out appropriate risk assessments in relation to the work you are required to carry out.
• Copies of the client risk assessments are obtained and reviewed.
• You are notified of any risks associated with the work to be carried out.
• You are advised of any personal protective equipment required.
At the beginning of each assignment you must familiarise yourself with, and conform to, the Client’s Health and Safety Procedure, undergoing training where necessary.
At all times, you must comply with all instructions given by the Client’s Safety Officer and others with a responsibility for Health and Safety.
You must obey the Client’s safety rules at all times and take reasonable care for your own safety, and that of your colleagues.
You must not take any action, where you work, which might endanger the Health and Safety of yourself or any other person.
Where required by legislation, or by the Client, you will be supplied with and must wear/use appropriate safety clothing or equipment.
All accidents, damage, unsafe practices and unsafe workplaces must be reported, without delay, to both the appropriate Client Representative and to HARK, whether people are injured or not.
You must bring to the Company’s attention any health condition that you believe may have been caused or aggravated by a work activity.
You must report any health condition that you have, or that you develop, (whether or not it is work-related) that may put you at particular risk from a work activity.
You should be aware of the dangers, which may arise from excessive working hours, and the importance of adequate rest breaks. You must bring to the attention of HARK any requests to work excessive hours or if inadequate rest breaks are provided.
You must always ensure you are aware who your first aiders and fire wardens are during your assignment.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
You are required to wear PPE in certain roles and when doing certain tasks. PPE includes items such as; safety boots, helmets, safety glasses, Hi-Viz jackets and ear defenders. PPE is required to keep you safe and failure to wear the correct PPE means that you leave yourself exposed to risk of serious injury. Where you are required to wear PPE, you must do so in all the designated areas and at all times.
Work equipment can be hazardous and cause injury. Make sure that you always;
• Follow instructions and comply with safe working procedures.
• Take simple precautions, such as pre-start checks.
• Report defects and faults immediately – Keep the working area clean and tidy, clean up spills and remove obstacles.
• Switch off equipment when not in use – Tie back long hair and cover it.
Work equipment can be hazardous and cause injury. Make sure that you never:
• Use machines if you have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
• Tamper with guards or safety devices – Wear loose clothing or jewellery when operating machinery.
• Work with equipment, unless trained to do so.
• Accident Reporting
Accidents and Near Misses
All accidents and near-misses, no matter how minor, must be reported at the time of the incident to your supervisor and to HARK at the earliest opportunity. You will be required to complete an accident form at the client premises. Reporting accidents or near-misses helps prevent them recurring.
For all workers with more than 24 months continuous service, we will apply the disciplinary processes as recommended by ACAS. Regardless of length of service, no disciplinary action will be taken until the facts of a situation have been considered enabling a considered judgement to take place.
HARK may suspend an assignment without pay, while an investigation takes place. Such a suspension will be reviewed as soon as possible and will not normally exceed ten working days. Suspension of this kind is not a disciplinary penalty, it is to enable a clean and proper investigation of the facts of the situation and does not imply any decision has been made.
All grievances should be raised with HARK and not with the client with whom you are working. Where possible, HARK will aim to settle grievances informally, dependant of course on the level of seriousness of the matter. If matters cannot be resolved informally, the following formal Grievance Procedure will apply. apply. This procedure provides guidelines only and does not form part of your contract for services.
• Step one – You must set out your grievance in writing and send this statement to the Company.
• Step two – The Company will invite you to attend a meeting to discuss your grievance.
The meeting must not take place unless:
• You have informed the Company of the basis for the grievance set out in the statement under step one.
• The Company has had a reasonable opportunity to consider its response to that information.
After the meeting, the Company will inform you of its decision and the Company will notify you of your right to appeal if you are not satisfied with it.
If you do wish to appeal, you must inform the Company within five working days of your grounds of appeal, and if you do so the Company will invite you to attend a further meeting. After the appeal meeting, the Company will inform you of its final decision. There will be no further right of appeal.