09/01/2009

Employment e-Brief – More news on temporary agency worker directive (The “Agency Workers’ Directive”)

Philip Paget, employment partner

The Agency Workers’ Directive was adopted by the European Parliament on 22 October, and published in the Official Journal on 5 December 2008, with a maximum three year implementation period.

Its implementation in the UK is of particular relevance to any employer which uses temporary agency staff.

The latest from BERR is that the Government hopes to introduce the necessary legislation in the current Parliamentary session. This will be preceded by a full consultation with interested parties on the options for implementation and, in the light of responses, a date for entry into force of the regulations.

The Directive allows the UK to implement the agreement reached on 20 May 2008 between the CBI and the TUC, which means that after 12 weeks in a given job, an agency worker will be entitled to equal treatment (at least the basic working and employment conditions that would apply to the worker concerned if s/he had been recruited directly by that undertaking to occupy the same job). It was agreed that occupational social security schemes would be outside the equal treatment provisions. This agreement helped break the deadlock on discussions in the EU by providing a basis on which the UK and other Member States could agree the AWD.

The next we will see on this will be  a detailed consultation on the UK implementation of the Directive in 2009. BERR will have particular regard to avoiding unnecessary administrative burdens for business while ensuring agency workers receive the appropriate protections.

To be included on the list as a consultee you will need to send your details to BERR and a link can be found on the BERR website by following http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/employment/employment-agencies/consultation-2002/page30034.html

For further information on this directive please speak to a member of the Employment team.