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Employers 'unprepared' for agency workers regulations

View profile for Philip Richardson
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With Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) to be introduced later this year, a worrying high number of employers are yet to assess how the legislation will impact on their workplace.
According to research by recruitment firm Randstad, only 7% of UK employers have conducted an assessment of how they will be impacted by the Agency Workers Regulations.
Agency workers make up about 4% of the UK workforce, yet over a third of organisations, 37%, surveyed in Randstad’s ‘Shifting Sands’ report admit that they are unfamiliar with the Regulations. Meanwhile, those that are aware of the AWR are still unclear about key areas of policy.
Coming into force on 1st October 2011, the AWR will mean that agency workers receive the right to the same basic working and employment conditions as those in the equivalent job on a full-time basis.
Certain aspects of the AWR will apply from day one, such as the same access to facilities and job vacancies, while other rights will apply after the agency worker has been in the same job for 12 weeks, such as pay and some holiday benefits.
“With the implementation of the AWR just a few months away, it is a concern that such a high proportion of organisations are so unprepared,” said Brian Wilkinson, Head of Randstad UK.
“We urge all users of agency workers to conduct a thorough assessment of their human capital resources and the impact of the Regulations. Doing this properly will enable organisations to optimise the structure and efficiency of their workforces.”
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills is due to publish Guidelines on interpreting the AWR in the spring.
By employment solicitor, Phil Richardson