PM May water down Agency Worker Reforms
The Prime Minister is investigating ways to reduce the impact of the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) on employers, media reports have claimed, despite there being less than month until the laws are due to take effect.
The AWR, set to come in to force on 1 October, will give temporary employees the same rights as permanent workers, including access to paid holiday and maternity leave, once they have worked continuously for 12 weeks for the same employer.
David Cameron is said to be concerned that the new EU laws could have a negative impact on the UK’s fragile economy, according to reports in the Daily Telegraph which suggested he has sought legal advice on moderating the controversial new laws.
Business groups have claimed that the UK’s version of the AWR is “gold-plated” with additional requirements for employers that will push up costs for firms.
Reacting to reports that the rules may be “watered down”, the Institute of Directors said that it would welcome any decision to rethink the regulatory burden of the reforms.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said it was also keen to see “simple changes” to the regulations around pay and holidays “that would save businesses hundreds of millions of pounds”. The AWR are set to cost businesses a collective £1.6 billion a year to implement, the BCC said.
“With one in five businesses using agency workers telling the BCC that they would hire fewer after the implementation of these rules, the implications for the economy and jobs are significant.”
said Dr Adam Marshall, BCC director of policy.
“The Government must urgently clarify whether it intends to delay implementation of the regulations to spare businesses even greater uncertainty and potential costs.”
However, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman Henry Tanner said that the AWR were still going ahead and reports stating otherwise were “merely speculation” :-
“Ministers discussed these European regulations on a number of occasions with both the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress, seeking agreement on changes that we considered would have been to the benefit of both employers and agency workers. Unfortunately, it was not possible to find a way forward that would be acceptable to both parties.”