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New guidance for agency workers’ rights

9 May 2011

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Bosses have received government guidance to help prepare them to bring in rights for agency workers.

From later this year, staff hired through agencies will be entitled to the same basic employment and working conditions as workers recruited directly by a firm after completing a 12-week qualifying period.

Gordon Brown’s Labour government approved the regulations, which will take effect in October 2011 and bring into force the EU Agency Workers Directive as agreed in 2008.

Employment relations minister Edward Davey said: “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.”

Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said: “Agency work plays a vital role within our economy. Limiting bureaucracy and uncertainty will ensure that it continues to benefit businesses and job-seekers.

“Implementation will create some challenges, but the regulations do not fundamentally impact on the crucial flexibility that agency work provides.”

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“I was employed through an agency for five years. Shouldn’t i have been taken on by the firm by law?” – Keith Pickering, Lancashire

“If the staff member is employed by the agency then it is up to them to provide and pay for holidays and other leave where appropriate and they must not assume that the practice is fully informed of where the obligation lies. As a result of this legislation I suspect that most practices would only offer employment up to 12 weeks in order to avoid getting embroiled in employment law issues for agency employed staff” – Name and address withheld