The Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) is challenging the legality of the draft Agency Workers Directive Regulations which were laid before Parliament at the start of this year. Despite a two part consultation process, ARC have stated that the draft Regulations contain important aspects which were omitted from the consultations and should not be introduced as part of a secondary legislation such as AWD.

The point in question refers to recruitment businesses who have no contact with agency workers. These recruitment businesses do not fall within the scope of the AWD but the regulations provide that they can still be held liable for the acquired rights of the agency worker. ARC have questioned the legality of this position and has subsequently raised this issue with government, requesting that the relevant regulations be removed from the draft. ARC believe that the government is essentially redefining the employment relationship definition within law. However, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has yet to comment on this issue.

Adrian Marlowe, ARC Chairman, commented: “It is crucial to understand that this argument does not affect the rights of agency workers to equal treatment or enforceability against the actual temporary work agency or the hirer. It is unfortunate that so little time has been given to consider these regulations when we have pressed for more time, and that they have been laid before Parliament ahead of an approaching election when MPs minds are probably more on their constituents than anything else. However we are where we are and everyone can be assured that the ARC will take whatever action is required to clarify this issue as it could have serious consequences for agencies. The Government’s sledgehammer to crack a nut approach also highlights an element of mistrust of the recruitment industry that regrettably still exists in Government. This makes it all the more important that ARC pursues its objective of improving relationships and understanding between Government and the recruitment industry.”

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