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AWR struck…

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 With less than six months to go, research reveals nearly half of HR professionals are yet to assess the implications of AWR on their business.

The impending Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) threaten to leave businesses with a major headache this autumn, as the majority of HR professionals are yet to take the necessary action to prepare. According to new research by Adecco, the UK’s largest recruiter, over two thirds of HR professionals (67 percent) are yet to plan a structured timeline of activity to prepare for the regulations, while nearly half (48%) have not assessed the implications for their workforce.

Adecco warns that companies are in serious danger of suffering a disengaged temporary workforce later this year, if they fail to take action now to prepare for the new regulations. While those organisations that have sought advice and are beginning to put the necessary steps in place, have nothing to fear, a worrying number are delaying action.  HR professionals risk finding themselves ‘caught on the hop’ in October, with many expected to fall back on ill-thought-through short cuts, which could damage their business, as they clamour to meet the new requirements.

It is now less than six months until the new regulations come into effect. However, out of 100 HR professionals questioned, nearly 60 percent still claimed to only understand AWR to ‘some extent’ or not at all. While a number of HR professionals have now attended an external workshop or seminar or undertaken a level of self education, many still have this on their ‘to do’ list and the majority are yet to assess the implications of AWR on their business.

Steven Kirkpatrick, managing director of Adecco General Staffing, said: “AWR will soon be a reality and companies need to start taking steps to prepare now and to start filtering this information out to the relevant people within their organisation. There is a worrying trend emerging, which suggests many HR professionals may be planning to just ‘leave it to the recruitment agency’ or introduce short cuts such as terminating temporary contracts after 11 weeks or reducing their intake of temporary staff, to try and avoid the regulations when they come into effect. This approach is very short sighted and could pose a real threat to employee engagement and future business performance.”

Concern among HR professionals remains high, with 55 percent describing themselves as very or quite concerned about the impact of AWR, with the impact of the regulations on current strategies for using temps and employer liability ranking most highly. Increased costs and plans to hire temporary workers for shorter periods are being seen as the main implications.

Kirkpatrick, adds: “Agency workers have a key role to play within the UK workforce, with over 1.3 million agency workers out on assignment every day, so it’s vital that HR professionals take steps to understand the regulations and prepare. Previous Adecco research has shown that where temps make up more than ten percent of the workforce, 52 percent of these businesses believe their organisation wouldn’t be able to survive without temporary workers. With this in mind, it is essential that businesses don’t discount temporary workers simply because they don’t fully understand how AWR will affect them or are afraid of the new regulations. By working with recruitment agencies and following the Government guidance, companies can easily navigate this new legislation, allowing them to continue benefiting from this valuable element of the workforce.”

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