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UK – AWR little impact on use of agency staff

01 October 2012

Only 4% of employers have cut down their use of agency workers in direct response to the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) which were introduced a year ago. The economic climate was mainly to blame for the cutbacks, suggesting that growth will pick up again as stability returns. 

This is according to ongoing research by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) which has analysed the impact of the AWR.

“One year in it’s clear to us that there have been only limited problems for businesses, some real positives for workers and that it’s recruitment agencies across the UK who have really absorbed the administrative burden and costs associated with the implementation of the new rules,” said REC CEO Kevin Green.

The survey has found that only one in 10 employers had stopped or significantly decreased the use of temporary staff in the seven months to April 2012.

Of the 28% of employers who said they had in any way reduced their use of agency staff, two thirds said it was because of continued economic uncertainty and weak growth.

“Of the minority of employers who reduced their use of temps most of them made that decision because of the wider financial climate, rather than it being a knee-jerk reaction to the new regulations. So it makes sense that demand for agency staff will pick up as growth returns,” said Mr Green.

He urged the government to either hold a review of the AWR “which looks at all the relevant issues including pay, assignment lengths, bonuses or they should leave it alone.”

“What we don’t want is businesses’ time and energy being wasted on a partial review that upsets the current system, creates uncertainty and could risk interfering with the work of agencies and employers making effective use of temporary staff and keeping the temporary labour market buoyant.”

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