Have your say: proposed equal treatment for temporary agency workers

By: Aengus Collins

Date: 19 June 2009

Businesses need to take notice now of the new rights for temporary workers that will apply in the future, as the government consults on what they should be.  

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) is consulting on how to implement the Agency Workers Directive (2008/104/EC). In May 2008, BERR reached an agreement with the CBI and TUC that allows for equal treatment of employees and temporary agency workers once the agency worker has been in a given job for 12 weeks. It proposes to implement the Directive on that basis. In doing so, it aims to balance appropriate protection for temporary agency workers against the need for a flexible labour market.  

In particular, BERR is seeking views on:  

  • who should be covered by the Directive (eg 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.

Even though the Directive does not need to be implemented in member states until December 2011, the key issues are being identified now, and findings obtained at this stage will inform the draft regulations to be produced later, along with guidance.   Businesses have until 31 July to respond to the consultation.  

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