Zenith People
Dan Barton

Member Article

Zenith People outline how the Agency Workers Directive might affect your business

The Agency Workers Directive is a piece of legislation which you may have become familiar with in recent months as it will have an impact on many businesses across various sectors. We’ve put together an FAQ sheet which briefly outlines the AWD and how it might affect your business.

What is the Agency Workers Directive?

The Agency Workers Directive (AWD) came into place on 1stOctober 2011. This is a piece of legislation which gives temporary agency staff the same rights relating to pay and working time as comparable permanent employees after they have completed the required qualifying period. For example, if two Customer Service Advisors, one permanent and one temporary, are doing the same job, after serving their qualifying period, the temporary advisor must both be given the same rights relating to pay and working time.

Which rights are affected?

Pay, overtime, hours, night work, rest periods and annual leave are the main areas which are affected. Other areas include uniforms, use of leisure, canteen and car park facilities and use of any protective equipment. The AWD does not apply to areas such as pensions, Statuary Sick Pay, Statuary Maternity Pay and Statuary Paternity Pay.

How will this affect my business?

There is a legal obligation to ensure that equal rights are applied to all agency workers who have completed the required qualification period. Any organisation which fails to comply can be fined and/or imprisoned.

What is the qualification period?

An agency worker will have completed the qualifying period by working in the same role with the same employer for 12 continuous calendar weeks, during one or more assignments. The 12 weeks do not have to be worked through the same agency. There are certain breaks in assignment which are permissible and will not affect the count towards the qualifying period e.g. if a break is less than six weeks, sickness, jury service, industrial actions, etc.

What are the cost implications?

These would vary in each circumstance; however the average across all sectors would be an 8% rise in all employment costs.

Are there any alternatives?

Yes, agencies can opt to employ their temporary workers on ‘Swedish Derogation’ compliant contracts, which means that the agency workers would be entitled to payment between assignments, along with paid notice. Under these such contracts agency workers would not be entitled to equal pay – however, equal rights relating to annual leave, access to internal vacancies, etc, would still apply. By employing temporary workers in this manner, agencies can help to mitigate the additional costs for the employer.

Will Swedish Derogation be adopted by all recruitment agencies?

Swedish Derogation will have a high impact on agency staff and agencies themselves. Not all recruitment agencies will adopt Swedish Derogation as it is likely to have an effect on employment risks for each agency.

What are Zenith People doing about the AWD?

Zenith People have developed a number of different ‘temporary staffing models’ to suit our Clients varying needs. We will be employing a proportion of our temporary work force on ‘Swedish Derogation’ contracts, as well as taking account of the legislative changes in our standard temporary recruitment model. We see the AWD as a means to work more closely and in partnership with our clients and to show our commitment towards those relationships.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Dan Barton .

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