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Consultation launched on implementing the Agency Workers Directive

Consultation launched on implementing the Agency Workers Directive

The Government has commenced further consultation on its proposals, and the draft regulations, designed to transpose the EU Agency Workers Directive into UK law. The Government has confirmed that it hopes to have the legislation in place by the end of this Parliament, but it will not come into force until October 2011, giving employers and agencies over a year to prepare.

The Directive requires that temporary agency workers be given equal treatment in comparison to permanent workers as regards basic working conditions such as pay, working hours and holidays. The consultation which closes on 11 December 2009, highlights that the Government will make use of a permitted derogation to provide that – for these types of conditions – the equal treatment rule only applies after the agency worker has been in the same job for 12 weeks. In certain areas, however, entitlement to rights, including equal treatment, will start from day one of the job, e.g. the right to receive information about job vacancies, the right to equal access to on-site facilities, such as child care, and protection for new and expectant mothers.

The Government also seeks views on key elements, such as, who should be covered by the Directive, the definition of pay, holiday entitlement, duration of working time, the 12-week qualifying period, how the principle of ‘equal treatment’ should be established, liability for compliance with obligations under the Directive, and dispute resolution.

The document sets out the Government’s committment to implementing the legislation by the end of this Parliament with a view to the law coming into force in October 2011. This delay is intended to give end-users and agencies time to prepare and plan and to avoid changing business requirements until the economic recovery is more firmly established.

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