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The ARC criticises Telegraph reporting on the AWR

The ARC criticises Telegraph reporting on the AWR

There are a number of issues arising from the Telegraph article of 25th August headed New EU job rights 'will derail British recovery' asserts the Association of Recruitment Consultancies ( ARC).

Maintaining that the nature and scope of the regulations is misrepresented, the ARC complains that the statement “The laws, which will give more than one million workers the right to the same holiday time, pay, maternity leave and other perks, will come into force next month. Under the legislation, agency workers will effectively have to be treated as full-time workers after 12 weeks.” is grossly misleading and can unnecessarily undermine confidence.

Adrian Marlowe, chairman of the ARC explained “New laws will apply from 1st October relating to the rights of agency workers, but they do not include the right to the same “maternity leave and other perks”. Further nothing in the regulations requires agency workers to be treated as full time workers – flexibility remains exactly as before.”

“The obligation will be to provide agency workers with the same pay, leave and working time as if they had been recruited directly, leaving it open for hirers to set the terms that would apply to all new recruits from 1st October. Certainly there will be an on cost to those that historically have used agency workers and retain policies to pay new employees more, but those that wish to continue using agency workers at the same rates and terms as before have the opportunity to do so in many cases provided they take appropriate steps. Also those agency workers that operate a profession or a business undertaking can be excluded from scope under the regulations, a measure that agencies supplying business professionals will be keen to take advantage of. The impact is therefore likely to be far less than the article speculates, although it would be true to say that businesses do neither want nor need new regulations of this kind particularly at this economic juncture.”

Having researched the position, the ARC understands that the figure of &pound1.8bn mentioned in the Telegraph article is based upon a government impact assessment produced more than two years ago, rather than a current survey. Marlowe commented further “at the beginning of the consultation process in 2009 these regulations appeared to offer a real significant deterrent to hirers from using agency workers, with a very significant potential on cost. This would have affected the principle of flexibility that has served businesses and the UK economy so well. Things have moved on since then. Fortunately the government was persuaded to draw back from its most draconian ideas, and the result is that the regulations in their current form can be worked with, and the impact is likely to be far less. Hirers should take the right advice so that they understand the options available, and certainly our members are in a position to provide access to that advice.”

The ARC is concerned that inaccurate press reports can damage the recruitment industry unnecessarily with the potential of recreating the negatives that existed in 2009. Adrian concluded “The Regulations cannot be scrapped because of EU rules and the sooner businesses understand that they are not as bad as originally thought the sooner businesses can get back to creating growth by using agency workers to fill their needs as before.”

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