Private employment agencies (according to Article 1 of Convention No. 181) are any enterprises or persons, independent of the public authorities, which provide one or more of the following labour market services: (a) services for matching offers of and applications for employment; (b) services for employing workers with a view to making them available to a third party (“user enterprise”); or (c) other services relating to jobseeking, such as the provision of information, that do not aim to match specific employment offers and applications.
Temporary agency employment is where a worker is employed by the temporary work agency, and then hired out to perform his/her work at (and under the supervision of) the user company. There is considered to be no employment relationship between the temporary agency worker and the user company, although there could be legal obligations of the user company towards the temporary agency worker, especially with respect to health and safety. The relevant labour contract is of limited or unspecified duration with no guarantee of continuation. The hiring firm pays fees to the agency, and the agency pays the wages (even if the hiring company has not yet paid the agency). Flexibility for both worker and employer is a key feature of agency work.
On 18-19 October 2011, the Tripartite Global Dialogue Forum on the Role of Private Employment Agencies in Private Services, to be held at the ILO in Geneva will be to exchange of views on private employment agencies and temporary agency work, focusing more specifically on private services sectors (especially hotels, commerce, finance, media and telecommunications) as regards promoting decent work, expansion of protection for temporary workers, and improving the functioning of labour markets in private services.
In October 2009, over 100 participants – Government, Worker and Employer representatives plus European Commission and international nongovernmental organizations representatives attended the ILO Tripartite Workshop to promote ratification of the Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (No. 181)
. A summary of the discussion is provided in the Report of the discussion