News

Employers must act now to prepare for new agency workers regulation

The Agency Workers Regulations, which come into force this October, will give agency workers who have been employed for 12 weeks or more, the entitlement to equal treatment and benefits as permanent staff.

To help businesses prepare for this significant change, law firm Birketts LLP and recruitment specialists Pure Resourcing Solutions joined forces in June to run a series of seminars explaining the implications.

The seminars, held in Ipswich, Norwich and Cambridge, were attended by more than 150 HR professionals from across the region and clearly explained what measures businesses should have in place in readiness for the changes. The talks also warned companies of the serious legal implications and consequences of being ill-prepared, which could include a fine of up to £5000.

Speaking on behalf of Birketts, employment lawyer Greg Jones, commented: “The main feature of the regulations is that agency workers will be entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as if they had been recruited directly by the end-user client.  It is essential that end-users are aware of what steps they will need to take to comply with the regulations and how this may effect operational decisions going forward.”

Gill Buchanan, director of Pure Resourcing Solutions, said it was vital that employers fully understood the impact of the law change : “The British Chamber of Commerce has predicted this new directive could cost employers an estimated £1.5bn. We felt it was important to advise and guide employers and HR professionals through the change to help minimise the impact on their businesses. There are specific questions to ask your recruitment agencies to ensure they have addressed the implications of the AWR and that the necessary processes are in place.

“According to a report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) at the beginning of 2011, one in five businesses in the UK planned to increase their temporary staff - a trend we have witnessed in the eastern region. Many businesses are choosing to recruit temporary staff to fill vacancies, while maintaining a static permanent workforce until full confidence in the economy is restored.  Temporary work is also a great route back into employment for many people who have been out of work, and often their only choice. So it is clearly important that businesses understand the implications of this new directive before it takes effect in October.”

If you require any more information on the implications of the new Regulations, please contact Greg Jones at Birketts LLP on greg-jones@birketts.co.uk. Or if you would like advice on questions to ask your recruitment agency in preparation for 1st October or require any recruitment advice or assistance in filling your accountancy, executive, professional office support, financial services or HR roles, please contact Gill Buchanan at Pure Resourcing Solutions on gill@prs.uk.com, 01223-209888 or visit www.prs.uk.com.