David Cameron has expressed his desire to review the effects of the impending Agency Workers Directive on employment opportunities. He is concerned that the extra rights and obligations will result in less contract opportunities.
His comments have been welcomed by the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC). Their chairman Adrian Marlowe commented: “We agree that the issue should be looked at in the round as well as in respect of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR). There is a clear distinction between agency work and regular employment. The former reflects the concept of short term deployment of labour and allows for the flexibility which has helped to provide UK hirers with a useful strategic tool for years. The distinction must not be blurred and the rules must be appropriate to enable agency work to function properly if jobs are not to be lost.”
Mr Marlowe continued: “Any assumption that a review of the regulations, or any other agency related regulations, would automatically mean that agency workers will be prejudiced would not be correct. What would prejudice agency workers is if the availability of work becomes limited because the rules do not work efficiently and if flexibility becomes unnecessarily restricted.”
The ARC believe that the current qualification period for the AWD legislation to apply to higher paid individuals. Mr Marlowe concluded: “It is perfectly possible for those agency workers who have been or are likely to be mistreated, as set out by the unions, to be set aside from the vast majority who are not. Those most likely to be taken advantage of can be protected more. The idea that only one rule is permitted with extra and over complicated rights for everyone, and that a more flexible approach is therefore to be condemned, must surely go against common sense.”