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Agency Worker Regulations - Are your ducks in a row?
By Adrian Hobbs

In October 2011, the Government will introduce the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) designed to ensure equal pay, holidays and working conditions for agency workers. Morally, its introduction is perceived as being correct, but its impact upon your business could be considerable in terms of additional cost, and may have an adverse effect on your ability to “Flex the business” as easily as you might do today.

Our recent discussions with both potential and existing clients have indicated an alarming lack of awareness of the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) that will come into effect on 1 October 2011.

The regulations will implement an EU directive requiring the basic employment terms and conditions of agency workers after a qualifying period of 12 weeks to be no less favourable than those of permanently employed staff. These new rules could have a significant impact on business as companies finalise their HR and budget plans for 2011. Determining the impact of AWR 2011, operationally and financially, will be imperative. The majority of Government guidance has been announced and employers should seek to make their own assessment to determine the impact. You can use our free cost calculator to determine the potential impact of the Agency Worker Regulations on your business.

In smaller businesses the impact will be minimal but there are still rules governing equal pay after the qualifying period, and fair treatment of workers relating to benefits and job opportunities.

The impact for large users of flexible staff will require a higher level of strategic thought as the increased wage bill for some could be significant, unless plans are made in advance to mitigate the effects.

Flexible working is here to stay and will make a significant contribution to business in these turbulent times and beyond. It would be damaging if employers were to make decisions about their recruitment strategies, based upon hearsay or misunderstandings around the scale of the impact the regulations are likely to have.

Our experience to date with several impact assessments now in place has been encouraging and we have been able to propose to our clients a range of solutions or options for them to consider in advance of the change. In reality the assessment takes a few hours to gather the relevant information from across your business, some discussion to confirm any issues that may be of concern, and is finalised in a working document highlighting what actions need taking, and a cost analysis linked to the action. Feedback from our clients to date has been excellent, and some of the solutions we have found have the potential to actually enhance the recruitment and retention of staff for the future.

Will the “Agency Worker Regulations” impact on your “flex-ability”?

At FlexPlus we have been providing flexible workers for over 20 years, either on a traditional day by day basis or through our Onsite Managed Service. We have studied the AWR proposals carefully, and are now in a position to accurately advise you of the requirements and options available to ensure full compliance by October.

Recognizing that every business is different and a “one size fits all” approach cannot be achieved, we would be more than happy to discuss AWR with you and your colleagues, and to provide you with a short, but succinct presentation outlining the regulations. We are happy, without obligation, to point you towards the practical “1st step” direction to identify relevant solutions that ensure the continuity of flexible labour, and of course minimize the potential cost impact.

  • Who is an agency worker?
  • Are self-employed workers within scope of the Regulations?
  • What does “equal treatment” cover?
  • The 12 week qualifying period
  • Establishing equal treatment
  • Liability
  • Implementation timetable

Have you calculated the additional cost?

The free cost calculator is really simple to use and will determine the additional cost to your business per year after AWR.

Click here to get more information on AWR 2011 and access to our FREE cost calculator.

Added: 4th February 2011

With over 25 years experience in making businesses more efficient, Adrian Hobbs is a pioneer in lean business modeling, employee development and change management.  Find out more about Adrian's company Flex Recruitment.

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