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Agency Workers Directive scheduled for 2009 Parliamentary session

Agency Workers Directive scheduled for 2009 Parliamentary session

While the Directive 2008/104/EC on temporary agency work (AWD), recently adopted by the European Parliament, requires Members States to implement the provisions by 5 December 2011, the Government has announced that it hopes to introduce the legislation necessary to transpose the Directive into UK law during the 2009 Parliamentary session, following a full consultation.

As reported in previous editions of All Inclusive, the main purpose of the AWD is to ensure the appropriate protection of temporary agency workers through the application of the principle of equal treatment and to address unnecessary restrictions and prohibitions on the use of agency work. The AWD follows similar directives on fixed term and part time work. However, under the Directive “equal treatment” relates only to basic working and employment conditions of temporary agency workers.

The Directive allows members States to derogate from the principle that equal treatment applies from ‘day one’. This means that the UK will be able to implement the agreement reached on 20 May 2008 between the CBI and the TUC, which states that only after 12 weeks in a given job, will an agency worker will be entitled to equal treatment (at least the basic working and employment conditions that would apply to the worker concerned if s/he had been recruited directly by that undertaking to occupy the same job).

The Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR) have rejected calls from employer’s groups recommending that the full three year period should be utilised before implementing the measures. According the DBERR’s statement, there will be a detailed consultation in 2009 with interested parties on the options for UK implementation of the Directive and, in the light of responses, a date for entry into force of the regulations, with the Government hoping to introduce the necessary legislation in the current Parliamentary session.