Government publishes guidance to help employers prepare for the introduction of new rights for agency workers later this year.
The Regulations implement the EU Agency Workers Directive as agreed in 2008, following social partner agreement between the CBI and TUC. These will come into force in the UK on 1 October 2011.
They will give agency workers the right to the same basic employment and working conditions as if they had been recruited directly by a company, if and when they complete a 12 week qualifying period in a job.
Employment Relations Minister Edward Davey said:
“The agency sector is a key part of the UK’s flexible labour market. It provides the flexibility needed for employers to meet surges in demand, cover temporary absences or cope with seasonal fluctuations and provides a route into employment for thousands of individuals.
“The Agency Workers Regulations have been on the statute book since January 2010 and followed negotiations between the CBI and TUC. 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.
“Our focus therefore has been providing the best possible guidance to help everyone affected understand these regulations. We have collaborated with key organisations including employment agencies, employers, trade unions and representative bodies to develop this guidance and I believe the resulting document will help prepare everyone for the forthcoming changes.”
As well as the 12 week qualifying period, the key changes as a result of the Regulations include:
- Key elements of pay.
- Duration of working time.
- Night work.
- Rest periods and breaks, annual leave and paid time off for ante-natal appointments.