Can my employment agency legally charge me?

These are the Employment Agencies Act 1973, and the Employment Business Regulations 2003; however, there are exceptions

Two statutes prohibit employment agencies, which source permanent employment, and employment businesses, which source temporary employment, from charging those who are seeking work for their services.

The entertainment business and sports professionals

Employment agents, or businesses that are engaged by individuals to assist them in their search for a particular type of work, are allowed to charge for their services. The occupations for which this is common are actors, musicians, singers, dancers and others involved in the production side of entertainment; and sports professionals. The amount that can be charged is also restricted to a certain amount percentage of the individual’s earnings in any employment that has been found for them.

An employment agency can also charge a fee if your details are included in a publication, provided that the purpose of this publication is to find you employment and to provide any potential employers with information about you; in addition, the fee must be no more than a reasonable estimate of the costs involved in creating and circulating the publication or the only service the employment agency is providing.

Employment agency publications

If the only service that your employment agency/business provides is to ensure that you receive a publication containing information about potential employers, it is entitled to charge you a fee for the purchase of your subscription to this publication; however, it must provide you with a copy of the current edition of the publication in advance of your agreement to the subscription.

Where your employer is being charged

If the company for which you end up working is being charged by the employment agency, the employment agency is not entitled under any circumstances to charge you any additional fees.

Any other services

Employment agencies and business are not allowed to make it mandatory for work-seekers to use services for which they are entitled to charge a fee. It must be optional to work-seekers as to whether they would wish to use those services; in addition, they cannot require within their terms and conditions that a work-seeker should either hire or purchase goods before they will provide the work-finding services.

In all cases, any fee that will be charged must be explained clearly within any contract that you sign with the employment agency or business. In many circumstances, any such charge will be illegal.

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