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Agency Workers Regulations – will it mean less long term temporary workers?

If I was in business right now I would be considering whether to continue to use temporary staff for long term temporary roles.

Don’t get we wrong. I completely agree that temporary agency staff should get the same basic employment rights as permanent staff members. The 12 weeks qualifying period seems like a fair time period to see how this temporary person is getting on in the role, or to safeguard a business using a Recruitment Agency for a short term fix. If you are going to use a temp as an ongoing or long term solution, it seems only fair to give them the same basic rights, as the permanent staff member sitting to their left and their right.

However, I always panic about whether I am doing something wrong or right anyhow, so I would be concerned that the process would leave me, or the Recruitment Agency open to making a mistake. As far as I am aware, and I am no legal expert, the liability seems to land more with the Recruitment Agency than the Business if AWR is not correctly implemented? However, if even some business leaders are worriers like me, I am sure a few right now are wondering what their policies will be going forward….

I would also be concerned if I was a Recruitment Consultancy right now, with a focus on temporary business. Certainly some Businesses would never consider using a temp on the long term if they had to give them the same basic employment rights, because they would, I would imagine, just take on a staff member on a short term contact and directly as well, to save the recruitment agency costs. Will larger UK companies, who employ 100’s of temps, just simply consider improving their own internal recruitment methods, rather than paying recruitment agencies higher charges after the 12 week period?

There are approximately 1.3 Million temporary agency workers employed in the UK, so the next few months, should make interesting reading. Maybe the AWR implementation process will be smooth, and I would imagine that the larger recruitment agencies, will have detailed plans in place, but I can also foresee that these changes will have a long term effect on the temporary employment market and Recruitment Agencies as a whole.

Hopefully as the legislation comes in on the 1st October both Recruitment Agencies & Businesses are working together to make sure that the changes are smooth & do not effect the temporary staff member themselves. Only time will tell, and watch this space….

As I highlighted above, I am not a legal expert, and the opinions above, are just that, opinions! However if you are a recruitment agency, temporary worker or a business and looking to find out more about AWR, the internet is full of detailed guides to help you work out what all these changes mean for you. Go figure…and good luck!!


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