Jobs: Law to give employment rights to agency workers

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TEMPORARY agency workers will soon become eligible for the same employment benefits as full time staff.

The Agency Workers Regulation (AWR) will come into force across the UK in October and give temps eligibility 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.

Rights will become automatic after 12 weeks work on an assignment.

Equal treatment applies to various terms and conditions including pay, working hours, overtime, holidays, rest periods, access to vacancies and 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 said: “In what is an already fragile economy where businesses are doing everything possible to maximise profits and cut costs, failure to prepare could add additional costs to their business and undermine their credibility as good employers.”

The managing director said agency workers 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 six weeks will reset the qualification ‘clock’. Employers should also be aware of the fine print.

She added: “The bottom line is irrespective of attitudes towards it, the legislation is almost here and we need to embrace it. What’s crucial is to make businesses aware of how these changes may affect them and discuss the range of initiatives that should be taken. These will range from identifying high risk terms and conditions to carrying out systemic reviews of temporary contracts against those of permanent staff.”