Agency Workers Regulations - What's the big deal?

The Agency Workers Regulations have been coming for sometime, but they're getting ever closer and worrying statistics have shown that businesses just aren't ready. So what's the big deal?
March 14, 2011 - PRLog -- Deriving from the EU's Agency Workers Directive (AWD), the Agency Workers Regulations or AWR (find out more here: will become law on 1 October 2011. Put in the most simple of terms, the AWR will give temporary agency workers the same rights as employees after a 12 week qualifying period.

The reason the AWD was agreed was to ensure temporary agency workers were not treated unfairly or paid less than those operating under the same role as an employee. It is fair to say that some temporary agency workers are hired by businesses for assignments that last for many years - there are instances of it being decades - yet they are currently not entitled to the same pay and benefits as that of an employee.

Complicated legislation.

Like most legislation the AWR is not straightforward. There are not only a number of factors which affect the qualifying period and influence who will qualify to equal treatment under the legislation, there is also a lack of clarity about what that equal treatment refers to.

The legislation is set to be clarified by the government in the spring, however with no set date for this and the legislative date creeping closer, businesses are developing their making plans now, prior to the clarifications.

Not only does the AWR entitle temporary agency workers to parity after a 12 week period it also entitles them to certain 'day one rights', thus complicating the situation further.
Issues arise due to the nature of how temporary workers are supplied to hirers. Often one worker may be supplied by different agencies to separate locations of the same business within a short period of time. Tracking this is essential to avoid falling foul of the legislation, but so too is finding a suitable solution to continue using temporary agency workers in an economic way.

Why not stop using temporary agency workers?

Temporary agency labour is a vital part of an organisations flexibility and productivity levels. They are used across a wide and varying spectrum of industry sectors and provide an effective strategy for accommodating peaks and troughs.
For example, both the retail and logistics industries rely heavily on temporary agency staff in the latter half of the year to ensure they can meet festive demands - without the ability to flex their workforce in such a simple and effective manner they would be unable to meet demands, or left with sky-high human resources bills.
Using an agency to hire temporary agency workers is the most cost effective way of achieving a flexible workforce, without an agency each depot or location would require a team to anticipate demand, recruit temporary workers and tend to the administrative requirements.

Green shoots.

In a recovering economy a temporary agency workforce is key to allowing businesses to grow out of recession - without the worry of redundancies.

By taking on temporary agency staff businesses can respond quickly and effectively to the tumultuous climate and ensure that should the economy weaken, or indeed strengthen, they can easily tailor their business as required.

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de Poel are the number 1 procurers of temporary workers, saving its clients over £500M every year. For our customers we cut costs, reduce administrative burden, bring visibility and transparency, raise compliance and improve cashflow.
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