Many Businesses Still Unprepared for Agency Worker Regulations

New law to bring about major changes for temporary workers as start date looms

Warnings have been issued to employers to fall in line with the new Agency Worker Directive and Regulations or face the consequences. The AWR will come into force across the UK on the 1st October and will change the way businesses introduce new staff on a short term basis.

Under the new regulations temporary agency workers will, after 12 weeks of working on an assignment, be eligible for equal treatment and have the right to the same basic working and employment conditions as if they had been recruited directly by the hiring company.

Equal treatment applies to various terms and conditions including those relating to pay, working hours, overtime, holidays, rest periods, access to vacancies and to other facilities it does not apply to other areas such as company pension schemes, company sick pay, or redundancy.

Carmen Watson, managing director of Pertemps Recruitment Partnership, said,

“Thousands of businesses across the country rely on temporary workers due to the cyclical nature of many companies, as they try to service the peaks and troughs of business demands. Despite the widespread usage of temporary workers, there isn’t universal awareness among businesses, which is particularly worrying as the date is fast approaching.”

The flexible labour market in the UK is an essential resource for many UK companies of all sizes and to the UK economy as a whole. Whilst the introduction of the AWR brings challenges to both employers and agencies, it also offers exciting opportunities for the recruitment industry. In particular for those agencies such as Pertemps who are prepared and working in partnership with their clients to ensure compliance and therefore protect their company’s brand and reputation.

As the AWR is not as straight forward as just counting 12 calendar weeks of work, companies should look to engage with an agency supplier who has the expertise, resource and technology solutions to provide the monitoring and tracking of flexible workers and their assignments so as to highlight potential issues before they arise. 

Watson noted that agency workers too should take the time to familiarise themselves with the fine print in legislation and how it will affect them as for example, a break between an assignment of more than 6 weeks will reset the qualification ‘clock’.

She added,

“Although some companies aren’t yet comfortable with the legislation, it will introduce added value in a number of areas such as improved retention, increased productivity and job/skills related training on the back of the fact that we will have a workforce that in many cases will be better rewarded and will have increased job security.”

See also the business news article that David Cameron may “water down” the Agency Worker Reforms.

For further information see our range of articles on employment business advice.

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