Agency Workers Directive Delayed until 2011
The EU Agency Workers Directive was due to be introduced in the UK as early as spring 2010, but the Government has announced that the reforms will now be deferred until October 2011 — the last possible commencement date under EU law.
The move follows criticism from business groups that if the reforms were implemented in 2010, they would impose additional red tape costs on firms when they are already struggling to survive the recession.
The directive will give temporary personnel the same employment rights as permanent staff after 12 weeks in a job, including pay and holidays. Other new benefits for agency employees include equal access to job vacancy information and improved rights for new and expectant mothers.
Business minister, Pat McFadden, said the Government was “mindful” of the need to avoid changing requirements on businesses until the economic recovery is more firmly established.
“Not implementing the legislation for another two years will also give recruiters time to prepare and plan,” he said.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) welcomed the news, saying that it would help to reduce pressure on firms in the current economic climate, as well as retaining flexibility in the labour market.
“We recognise that the Government has made some changes to their plans to help minimise the burden on business,”
said BCC director general, David Frost.
“In particular, we are pleased that small businesses with no pay scales or a comparable employee will be de facto exempt from this legislation.”
A consultation on the directive’s draft legislation has been launched and will run until 11 December 2009.
Visit the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) website to contribute to the EU Agency Workers Directive consultation.