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HMRC internal manual

PAYE Manual

Employment maintenance: employment agencies: introduction

Agency schemes provide temporary employment for the people who register with them. This can include

  • Foreign workers
  • Students


  • Low paid workers

Many people register with a number of different agencies and take jobs as and when they fit with their circumstances. Many also register and receive Jobseeker’s Allowance during the intervening periods.

Note: For more information on Jobseeker’s Allowance and Agency Workers see PAYE78000 onwards.

The term ‘agency’ in this section refers only to those supplying temporary staff. It is not intended for specialist agencies supplying professionals such as Doctors or Lawyers.

There are longstanding difficulties involving agency schemes. These schemes by their very nature sit uneasily with the operation of PAYE and Employment Maintenance procedures. There is no single or simple solution to the PAYE problems posed by agencies. Research shows that many of the inherent problems can be overcome where the Processing Office establishes with the agency effective

  • Communication
  • Liaison


  • Education

This approach provides the Processing Office with the opportunity to improve the quality of the information supplied by the agency and seeks to establish a voluntary code of best practice which is acceptable to the agency.

To conform to legislation, HMRC must ensure that computer systems are not being used unless there is a legitimate business need. This applies equally to viewing records as it does to updating them. An audit trail is created each time a user accesses a record and any unauthorised or inappropriate accesses will be considered for action under the Department’s Conduct and Discipline rules, and may also constitute a criminal offence.