The newly formed Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) has declared that the directive for agency workers to be awarded the same rights as permanent members of staff after a period of twelve weeks should be abandoned. They believe that these plans would dissuade employers from taking on new staff and would destabilise the ability of the UK to keep ahead of competitors, both of which are necessary to support the restoration of a healthy economy. Many freelancers neither need nor want these protective measures, worrying that it would prevent clients from wanting to work with them.

The ARC is recommending a two-tier system which would allow vulnerable agency workers to retain those rights after twelve weeks thus avoiding exploitation. Those contractors who do not meet these criteria, however, would have the freedom to work on complex contracts for longer without being subject to these protective measures.

The UK blocked the EU Directive for many years but finally came to an agreement with the CBI and TUC last year. Adrian Marlowe, Chairman and co-founder of ARC commented, “The 12 weeks agreed by the CBI and TUC in May last year took the recruitment industry by surprise. The idea that it is a done deal and not open to review is simply not correct, and this should be part of the current discussions. ARC has gained widespread backing for our plan. We have written to the CBI and BERR to open urgent discussions, and we need action now, before the new legislation comes into force.”

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