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UK – Staffing companies want to retain Employment Agency Standards

25 February 2013

Staffing firms in the UK have spoken out against government proposals to reduce reliance on the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) inspectorate which ensures compliance with employment rights in the staffing industry.

This comes after the government last month announced a consultation into the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 to reform the recruitment sector and remove “costly” regulations.

Part of this consultation involves looking into whether individual enforcement would be more effective than the current government enforcement regime which relies on the EAS. In the future, any complaint may take the form of a claim by an individual worker to an employment tribunal, and not to the EAS.

Ahead of the consultation’s closing date on 11 April 2013, members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) have responded to the proposals in a survey. 94% of REC members believed that the EAS should be retained rather than relying on employment tribunals.

Regarding umbrella companies, 97% of respondents said that new legislation should cover intermediaries such as umbrella organisations and vendor management system (VMS) providers. When asked about the reasonableness test for fees, 87% said that maintaining current provisions would be preferable to a reasonableness test which could create uncertainty.

Tom Hadley from the REC said: “We have a real opportunity to reshape our regulatory landscape. However, we will need to stand firm on some of the more unhelpful proposals that risk adding complexity and bureaucracy rather than cutting red tape. Recent meetings and webinars have confirmed that we have a strong and united voice and that recruiters are up for the fight.”

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