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UK – Most agency workers receiving equal treatment from day one

17 April 2012

A new survey found that over half (65%) of employers offer equal working conditions to agency workers from day one, although legally they are entitled to such rights after 12 weeks of working in the role. But at the same time one-third (36%) of employers are keen to let temporary employees go after they have worked for a 12-week period to avoid the obligations of the new Agency Workers Regulations (AWR).

The AWR, which came into effect in October last year, aims to increase the protection of temporary agency workers by offering them some of the working conditions as full-time staff, particularly when it comes to basic pay and leave.  

“It's really good news for temps that so many employers are deciding to implement equal treatment from day one. It's good for the worker and it's good for the business and the agency as it avoids the bureaucracy involved in making changes after waiting 12 weeks,” said Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

The survey was conducted by XpertHR and author Rachel Suff believes that employers may choose to treat temporary workers equally from day one to reduce confusion over when exactly the qualifying period of 12 weeks end. This period can, for instance, come to a temporary standstill if the agency worker takes time off.

“Although this approach may carry with it increased budgetary implications, it has the advantage of removing any ambiguity or administrative resource concerning when an agency temp should receive these basic working and employment conditions,” Ms Suff said.

The news comes after a recent study by recruitment company Adecco found that over three quarters of employers reported no significant impact of the AWR as only 16% of companies reported that the new regulations would influence their recruitment plans for the year. 

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