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Below is a response from the government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to our article on the Agency Workers Directive (AWD) dated 30 October 2009.
We would like to clarify some points made in your recent article "UK/Poland — BPCC warns against AWD"
First, the UK government has always supported the underlying objectives of the Agency Workers Directive and was pleased that key changes were agreed which enabled the UK to implement it on the basis of the agreement reached between the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and the TUC (Trades Union Congress) in May 2008. The agency sector is a crucial part of the UK labour market and the government remains committed to an implementation that meets its twin objectives of bringing greater fairness for agency workers whilst maintaining the flexibility that the sector provides for both employers and workers.
Second, the Agency Workers Directive was proposed in 2002 but only finally agreed by Member States and the European Parliament in 2008 - the final version of the Directive was published in December 2008 and all Member States have until December 2011 to implement it into national law. The UK did not "opt out", as stated in the article, as there was no agreement until 2008.
Third, the entitlements that UK agency workers will receive after 12 weeks in a given job are "basic working and employment conditions" which relate to the duration of working time, overtime, breaks, rest periods, night work, holidays and public holidays and pay. The Directive also provides other entitlements which aim to improve the situation for agency workers, for example, in terms of improved access to permanent employment and on-site facilities.
The government launched its second stage consultation on the draft regulations on 15 October (consultation closes on 11 December). The regulations will come into force on 1 October 2011.
Senior Press Officer
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
To read the original Western European Daily News article please click here