The Queen’s speech confirmed that the Agency Workers Directive would not come into force until the end of 2011. However the implementation of the EU directive continues to cause potential issues for contractors. In fact, policy-makers are continuing to face issues regarding how to remove the threat to contractors’ work from the scope of the law.

The government has conceded that self-employed workers and limited companies would potentially suffer if caught by the scope of the directive. This resulted in the proposals to exclude contractors on managed service contracts, those working through limited companies and genuinely self-employed workers from the reaches of the legislation. However, last week an MP who is firmly behind the law said that the proposals to exclude these group weren’t “particularly encouraging”.

Speaking in an interview, Brookson founder Martin Hesketh said that Labour MP Andrew Miller believes that policy-makers “don’t have an answer” to this issue. He also stated that a recent discussion with recruiters of IT contractors resulted in the belief that current definitions within the draft regulations are “very unclear”.

This meeting was hosted by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) who stated that the current definition of personal service companies is ambiguous. Marilyn Davidson, APSCo director, has also stated that the policy unit for the Directive were willing to take these issues on board they were not able to answer questions relating to how it will affect the self-employed.

Speaking to Contractor UK, she said: “That [the exclusion for self-employed contractors] is an area that is very foggy and we need to clarify. We will seek clarification through the final draft.”

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