Agency Worker Regulations: 6 Weeks to Prepare
Employers have less than six weeks left to prepare for new laws which will give temporary workers the same employment rights as permanent staff, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has warned.
The Agency Worker Regulations come into force on the 1st October and will give agency workers who have been in the same role as comparable employees for at least 12 weeks the same basic pay and benefits as permanent employees, including holiday entitlement and on-site facilities such as childcare. A six-week break period is required to reset the 12-week qualifying period.
Mike Emmott, policy adviser at the CIPD, warned businesses to prepare now or risk potential discrimination claims from temporary staff.
“Firms should look at whether they use agency staff or not, and if so, review how long they’ve been using them.”
“If it’s less than 12 weeks, the new rules won’t have much of an impact. But if it’s longer, it may be worth looking at job descriptions, pay rates and benefits to make sure you’re compliant and not favouring permanent workers. It’s also advisable to talk to recruitment agencies supplying your staff – it’s their responsibility to support the employer and smooth the process.”
The Confederation of British Industry and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) both criticised the new legislation, claiming it is “gold plated” with additional workers rights and will lead to potentially higher costs for employers.
“It’s unfair for small firms to have to treat agency workers the same as a permanent member of staff, especially if they’re only there for a short period of time,”
said FSB chairman John Walker.
“The new rules will just add to the burden of red tape.”
However, the CIPD said that temporary workers often cost employers more anyway, with Mike Emmott finishing by saying:
“Firms that are over reliant on temps should look at why they’re not recruiting directly. Is it a skill shortage issue or a way of organising different budgets? Either way, it can often end up costing employers more in the long-term than planned permanent recruitment.”