The Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) have been in force in the UK since the 1st October 2011.
The purpose of the regulations is to ensure that temporary workers are treated equally to comparable permanent employees, in respect of basic employment and working conditions, after a 12 week qualifying period. This means our contractors are equal in contractual terms to their permanent counterparts, including; pay, working hours, overtime, breaks, holidays and access to training. Equal treatment does not apply to sick pay or paternity/maternity leave. Contract and temporary staff will also be given access to the same collective facilities and information as permanent employees, called “Day 1 Rights”. This is a huge step forwards in creating an equal workplace, and will benefit many Fircroft contractors.
Day 1 Rights
Fircroft contractors arriving on site for their first day can now benefit from many facilities which may have been only accessible by permanent staff before the regulations. These may include but are not limited to; staff canteens, transport facilities, child care facilities and car parking. This list is affected by the amenities which a client offers it permanent staff. Our contractors will also be informed of any relevant job vacancies arising in the organisation.
In the event a client attempts to prevent Fircroft temporary staff from accessing such provisions, the organisation would need to objectively justify their reason for doing so.
12 Week Qualifier
The 12 week qualifier period does not only refer to 12 complete weeks of work, but also covers temporary workers who only work one day a week in that period.
Periods of up to six weeks without work will not reset the 12 week qualifier. Sickness, jury service and industrial action will stop the time in relation to the qualification period, while absence due to childbirth, adoption or paternity leave will not.
Impact of AWR on Recruitment
Regulations such as these often have both a cost and impact on many businesses. The following are some key findings from Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC) Jobs Outlook Survey and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) study:
- 81% of employers are planning to either grow or keep their agency workforce the same.
- Around a third of the respondents (31%) planned to even increase the number of temporary staff they employ.
- Only 13% of UK businesses pay their temporary workforce less than permanent staff.
These findings show the impact of AWR should be minimal on the demand for temporary and contract workers, while providing better working conditions for such staff.
Since the implementation of the Agency Workers Regulations, Fircroft has continued to work closely with clients to ensure understanding by providing in-depth information and addressing any concerns regarding the new legislation.
Furthermore, to ensure that temporary workers are treated equally to comparable permanent employees in respect of basic employment and working conditions a thorough review of comparator information and amends to all Fircroft standard terms and conditions have been made. In addition, Fircroft recruiters have been well trained on the AWR provisions.
Over a phased period, Fircroft has been proactive in implementing changes to processes that are followed for both existing contractors and new vacancies to guarantee efficiency and continuing compliance.
Fircroft will continue to provide a first class service and maintain a high level of support and advice to clients.