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Agency Workers Directive Consultation Launched

Agency Workers Directive Consultation Launched

Agency workers are set to get the same pay and conditions as permanent staff in a new step forward for fairness and equality in the workplace.

Building on last year's agreement between the Trades Union Congress and Confederation of British Industry, the new rights will take effect once agency workers have spent 12 weeks in a given post, as part of the Government's implementation of the European Agency Workers Directive.

Publishing a consultation on new rights for agency workers, Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden said:

"The last 10 years have seen great steps taken to promote fairness and equality in the workplace. New rights like the minimum wage and paid annual leave have helped transform the working lives of millions.

"Last year we reached agreement in Europe on the Agency Workers Directive, based on the agreement reached between the CBI and TUC. These proposals set out how we intend to implement equal treatment for agency workers in Britain.

"These proposals will take us another step forward by boosting the rights of agency workers, while making sure both employers and agency workers have the flexibility they need.

"In both good times and bad it is vital that we give people a fair deal at work without damaging our flexible labour market and putting jobs at risk."

The consultation launched today sets out proposals for implementation in the UK of the EU's Agency Workers Directive and will run until 31 July. Proposals in the consultation will see equal treatment for agency workers on pay, holiday entitlement and overtime.

* The EU agreed the Agency Workers Directive in 2008 and the final text was published on 5 December last year. All Member States have until December 2011 to ensure their own laws comply with the Directive.
* It is proposed that agency workers who are employed or engaged by an agency and who are sent to a company to work under their supervision and direction will be covered by the new rights.
* There are estimated to be around 1.3m agency workers in the UK.
* Agency workers already benefit from key rights enjoyed by permanent staff in the UK, including the minimum wage, working time regulations and statutory benefits such as sick and maternity pay.
* Regulations are also in place governing the conduct of agencies, which are enforced by the Department for Business.
* The UK implementation will take forward the CBI and TUC agreement reached in May 2008 on how fairer treatment for agency workers in the UK should be promoted, including that after 12 weeks in a given job there will be an entitlement to equal treatment.


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