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APSCo submission to Conduct Regulations consultation

Temporary workers outside the scope of the Agency Workers Directive should retain opt-out from agency regulations

APSCo submission to Conduct Regulations consultation

Opt out should be available to contractors earning at least three times National Minimum Wage

Temporary workers who are outside the scope of the Temporary Agency Workers Directive (TAWD) should retain the choice of whether to opt-out of the recruitment agency Conduct Regulations[1][1], according to the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) is proposing to strengthen the recruitment agency Conduct Regulations, which were first introduced in 2003. One of the options BIS is proposing is that contractors who operate through limited companies should no longer be able to opt-out of the Conduct Regulations, despite the majority of contractors currently doing so voluntarily.

The Regulations limit the fees agencies can charge clients - for example, where organisations want to offer contractors permanent work. The Regulations make agencies more susceptible to fraud by stipulating that agencies must pay contractors even where contractors fail to produce valid timesheets. The Regulations also increase red tape by imposing increased obligations to obtain detailed information on both the position to be filled and the worker, before supplying workers.

In its submission to the consultation, APSCo is calling on BIS to retain the opt-out of the Conduct Regulations for highly paid contractors. According to APSCo, one way to achieve this, which would make compliance with the regulations relatively simple, would be to allow temporary workers outside the scope of the TAWD to retain the opt-out, while workers within the scope of the TAWD would lose the choice of whether to opt-out.

APSCo is proposing that temporary workers who earn more than three times the National Minimum Wage (NMW) should be excluded from the TAWD and therefore should retain the choice of whether to opt-out of the Conduct Regulations. That would mean temporary workers earning more than 17.40 per hour or 33,930 per annum would retain the opt-out.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, comments: For the sake of simplicity and so as to minimise the red tape burden on businesses, APSCo is proposing that the dividing line for the opt out of the Conduct Regulations should be the same as that of the scope of the TAWD.

This will give businesses the certainty to know that if a temporary worker is outside the scope of the Directive they will also have the choice of whether to opt out of the Conduct Regulations. A worst case scenario for the temporary worker market would be if the scope of the TAWD and the Conduct Regulations were different, which would make compliance problematic and lead to greater administrative costs.

She adds: We feel that three times the National Minimum Wage is about the right income level for temporary workers to be outside the scope of the Directive and therefore retain the opt-out. It would mean that about 90% of workers placed by APSCo members would remain almost entirely unaffected by both of these potentially very damaging legislative changes.

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