Agency Workers Regulations Guidance Published

Small firms using agency staff can establish their new obligations under the Agency Workers Regulations, following the publication of guidance by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The regulations bring the UK into line with European law and come into force on 1 October 2011. The Agency Workers Directive will give agency workers who have been in the same role as comparable employees for at least 12 weeks the same terms and conditions, including pay and holidays.

The Agency Workers Regulations Guidance (PDF) outlines the meaning of “equal treatment” and how to establish it, and gives details of employers’ exact responsibilities.

“These new rules will just add to the burden of red tape placed on small businesses,”

said the Federation of Small Businesses’ national chairman, John Walker.

“The regulations have been ‘gold-plated’ in the UK. We’d like to see the smallest firms exempt to remove this potentially heavy burden completely.”

“But it’s important that businesses start to look at the personnel information they hold as they will be required to provide a range of evidence and information to compare agency staff to existing staff in areas such as job descriptions, pay rates and benefits [in the event of an investigation].”

Employment relations minister, Edward Davey, said:

“The Agency Workers Regulations have been on the statute book since January 2010 and followed negotiations between the CBI and TUC.”

“We looked carefully at the possibility of amending the Regulations to address employers’ concerns, but were forced to conclude that we could not do so without putting the 12-week qualifying period at risk. This qualification period is something that is a key flexibility that we know is vital to business.”

Visit the BIS website and download the Agency Workers Regulations Guidance.

Agency Workers Regulations Guidance Published by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

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