With just two weeks to go before the Agency Workers Regulations come into force, a survey suggests that many of the UK’s businesses are unaware about the impact of the new rules.
What are the Agency Workers Regulations?
The AWR, which becomes law on 1st October, will provide agency workers with the same basic rights as permanent employees after 12 weeks on the job.
After the initial 12 week period, agency (temp) workers must be provided with the same equal pay and working conditions as other staff members, and will also be entitled to night work, annual leave, rest periods, and other benefits afforded to the rest of the workforce.
The rules apply to the triangular relationship where individuals are contracted with a temporary work agency and supplied by that agency to work temporarily under the supervision and direction of a hirer.
If employers do not comply with the AWR, they could find themselves the target of employment tribunal claims.
Worryingly, a survey by workplace information provider, Croner, confirms the results of many other similar polls in recent weeks – that too few employers seem to be aware of the implications of the AWR.
Employers not prepared for the AWR
Liz Iles, Senior Employment Consultant at Croner said that very few employers are calling its advisory service on AWR-related issues, and that this silence was a concern.
In addition to the rights gained by agency workers after 12 weeks on an assignment, there are also ‘Day 1’ rights which employers should be aware of – these include the right to use the staff canteen, and use childcare facilities.
Liz said that employers who may be affected by the AWR can either comply with the new rules right away, or stop using agency (temporary) workers entirely.
You can also try these sites for further information about the AWR:
The legislation itself – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/93/contents/made
Taking on agency workers – Business Link advice.