570,000 new temp jobs for Europe?

A European Union regulation approved last October could bring 570,000 new jobs for temporary workers within five years in France, Belgium, Germany and Spain, according to research cited by Randstad Holding NV in its recently released annual report.

The regulation, called the 'agency work directive,' requires that temporary workers from staffing firms receive equal pay to traditionally hired workers as well as the same working conditions. However, it also called for European countries to review restrictions on temporary staffing and to remove them if they cannot be justified.

Independent economic research organization, SEO Economic Research, found that if bans on temporary staffing in construction and public services in France, Belgium, Germany and Spain were lifted, it would mean the 570,000 new temp jobs within five years, Randstad said in its annual report. Those jobs would be in addition to the 1.6 million temporary jobs that would be created under normal circumstances, the report said.

The agency work directive calls for equal treatment starting on day one for most countries, but after 12 weeks in the United Kingdom. The directive has raised concerns in the U.K. where the staffing market is more mature and includes more professional workers. Greater pay in regulations in some European countries also make it easier to compute pay, according to a previous Staffing Industry Analysts report.

EU member states have three years to update their laws to conform to the agency work directive.

Staffing in the U.K. is set to face another challenge this week when the 'VAT staff hire concession' ends on Wednesday, April 1. The concession's end means the U.K.'s value-added tax will be charged on the full cost of temporary workers, including salary, rather than just the net fee of the staffing firm. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation estimated 150,000 temp jobs could be at risk.

Staffing Industry Analysts plans more European coverage in the future, and recently hired John Nurthen as general manager of Europe. He can be reached at jnurthen@staffingindustry.com.

And Staffing Industry Analysts will again produce its list of world's largest staffing firms this year. The survey will include firms around the world. Information for the list comes from several sources, including the annual survey of largest and fastest-growing staffing firms.

The survey is set to open by Friday, April 3. Watch the Staffing Industry Daily News for a link to the survey, or contact Staffing Industry Report Senior Editor Craig Johnson at cjohnson@staffingindustry.com to have the link e-mailed to you when the survey open.

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