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Majority of employers unprepared for Agency Worker Regulations, survey finds

Majority of employers unprepared for Agency Worker Regulations, survey finds

Only 10% of employers are prepared for the workforce planning impacts of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR), set to become law this October, according to a new survey.

The latest Jobs Outlook Survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that awareness of the approaching AWR rules has risen to 70% of employers.
But only a minority (10%) had planned specific changes ahead of the implementation date of the 1st of October 2011, while a further 42% of employers said they were still weighing up their options.

Under the AWR rules, agency workers will be entitled to the same basic pay and benefits as permanent employees, including holiday entitlement and childcare facilities, after 12 weeks continuous work.

Business groups such as the CBI have criticised the changes, claiming they are gold plating workers rights with additional administrative work and potential cost for employers.

However, recent research from the CIPD and REC revealed that only 13% of temp workers would see their pay and benefits upgraded when assignments under 12 weeks and existing pay levels were taken into account.

In addition, when guidance for the legislation was published earlier this month, delegates at RECs AWR Summit heard that the regulations represented an opportunity for employers to review their workforce mix of permanent and agency staff.
Gillian Econopouly, RECs head of policy, said that with more than 40 % of employers still considering how to respond, and almost half again yet to think about the changes at all, the onus was on recruiters to talk to their clients.
For some employers, the AWR has been a catalyst for a more fundamental review of how they use flexible staff. In some cases, this may lead to a slight reduction in overall numbers, Econopouly said.

However, the latest data indicates that this will be counter-balanced by businesses that are planning to actually increase their use of agency staff over the next twelve months.
Recent employer workshops have seen more businesses focusing on getting best value from the flexible workforce - rather than simply seeing it as a cost to be managed. There is also an employer brand issue at play when considering how to implement the regulations.

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