Agency Work Commission receives backing
Agency Work Commission receives backing of leading business organisations
The recommendations of the Recruitment and Employment Confederations Agency Work Commission presented to Government earlier this month have now received the backing of the UK's leading business organisations.
These endorsements are extremely significant at a time when the trade unions are ramping up pressure for an early and 'gold-plated' implementation of the EU Agency Workers Directive.
The Agency Work Commission was set up by the REC to generate practical input from employers, professional recruiters and employment lawyers on how the equal treatment provisions for temporary workers that are covered in the EU Directive can best be implemented in the UK.
Commenting on the endorsements by the CBI, CIPD, BCC and PCG, REC Chief Executive Kevin Green says: "The fact that the work and recommendations of the Agency Work Commission have received the backing of leading business organisations is significant on a number of levels. It is crucial to build consensus between employer organisations on this issue and to make it clear that the practical recommendations on AWD implementation represent the views of both the suppliers and users of agency workers.
In addition, the endorsements we have received are significant in that they recognise the key role that the REC has played in leading the debate on making the EU Directive workable in the UK."
As well as backing from business organisations such as the CBI, BCC and CIPD, the Commissions recommendations are supported by the Professional Contractors Group (PCG). This reflects one of the priority recommendations made to Government on the importance of ensuring that higher end agencies and professional contract workers do not come within the scope of the EU Directive.
The REC will continue to work in co-operation with leading employer bodies and other key stakeholders during the Governments forthcoming consultation on UK implementation of the EU Directive.
British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)
"The British Chambers of Commerce supports the work of the REC in ensuring that the implementation of the Directive results in minimal administrative burdens on agencies and businesses who use agency workers. The definition of pay must only include basic pay any other definition is unworkable. We also agree with the REC that 12 weeks should mean 12 calendar weeks working on one assignment and that a break of four weeks should be sufficient to indicate a break. Implementation of this Directive must be delayed until the last common commencement date to try and mitigate the detrimental effect this legislation will have on the economy at this difficult time."
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
CIPD shares many of the RECs concerns about the way in which the directive should be implemented. From the standpoint of employers, it is vital to have clarity both about what equal treatment means in practice and about the process for implementing it. We agree that it should not be necessary to identify a hypothetical comparator with whom a temporary worker can be compared. It is also important that the regulations are clear about the responsibilities of the end-user, for example to provide details about the nature of the job to be done.
We also back the call for implementation of the regulations to be delayed until October 2011. At a time of great economic uncertainty a delay will help to avoid unnecessary disturbance to the labour market, and to allow employers and agencies to prepare fully for the introduction of the directive.
Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
We welcome the comprehensive work done by REC to pull together the views of the agency sector and the engagement the commission has had with the wider business community. It is clear that agencies and end-users are united in their desire to see the UK Regulations maintain important flexibilities in the UK labour market and that they clearly define the responsibilities of all parties. It is also now abundantly clear that the implementation of the UK Regulations must be delayed until October 2011 to allow for these new burdens to be absorbed once economic growth has returned.
Professional Contractors Group (PCG)
"It is vital that freelancers are not included in the scope of this Directive. There are approximately 1.4 million freelancers in the UK, and while they are not the workers this measure is intended to protect, many of them use agencies to find their clients. We fully support REC's recommendation that the measure does not apply to those people who provide services to clients on a business-to-business basis. Given the difficult economic climate at present, the Government must ensure that businesses can continue to engage freelance suppliers with the ease and flexibility that makes them so valuable to the UK."