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APSCo submission to BERR consultation

APSCo submission to BERR consultation

Temporary workers earning more than three times minimum wage should be excluded from Agency Workers Directive

Temporary workers who earn more than three times the National Minimum Wage (NMW) should be excluded from a forthcoming law which will give agency workers the same rights as permanent employees, according to the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). If this proposal is adopted, temporary workers earning more than 17.40 per hour or 33,930 per annum will be outside the legislation.

The Government is currently consulting on the implementation of the Temporary Agency Workers Directive (TAWD), which must become law in the UK by 2011. APSCo is the only stakeholder involved in the consultation process calling for highly paid temporary workers earning more than three times NMW, who operate through personal service companies or umbrella companies, to be completely excluded from this legislation.

APSCo is making the exclusion of professional level temporary workers the focal point of its submission on the draft legislation. APSCo says that an exclusion threshold set at three times NMW would mean that 90% of the workers supplied by APSCo staffing companies would be outside the legislation.

According to APSCo, whilst it supports enhancing the rights of vulnerable workers, professional level temporary workers earning above 17.40 per hour or 33,930 per annum cannot reasonably be considered as vulnerable. Such workers would have their work prospects harmed by this legislation.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive, APSCo, comments: The Government has acknowledged that this legislation is intended to enhance the rights of vulnerable workers and is receptive to the idea of excluding professional level temporary workers. It has indicated to APSCo that an exclusion based on an income threshold which is a multiple of the National Minimum Wage could be an appealing solution.

We feel that three times the National Minimum Wage is about the right income level for the exclusion. It would mean that about 90% of workers placed by APSCo members are outside the scope of the legislation. This would be a workable solution which would be easy to understand and enforce.

She adds: The kind of business professionals placed by APSCo members are highly-skilled, highly-paid individuals who cannot be considered vulnerable workers. Their inclusion in this legislation would significantly add to the costs to end users of using these workers, thereby damaging their employment prospects.

APSCo has been holding meetings with the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (formerly BERR), the CBI and the Professional Contractors Group (PCG) over the last few years to discuss the Directive. Discussions have focused on ways of implementing the Directive without damaging the work prospects of highly paid, knowledge-based professionals. BIS, the CBI and the PCG have all been receptive to the idea of excluding professional level temporary workers from the legislation.

The TAWD will entitle agency workers who have worked on assignment with the same end user for at least 12 weeks to at least equal treatment as permanent workers. The meaning of equal treatment has yet to be precisely defined, but it will definitely include equal pay, and is likely to encompass basic working conditions, such as access to training, amenities, notice of termination, and so on.

Ann Swain is one of the experts on Recruitment International's TAWD Debate at The World leaders in Recruitment Conference - Thursday 10th September - London. To receive the full conference programme email


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