Jobbing PAYE umbrella contractors may be heartened to hear that figures recently released by the temporary labour supplier de Poel reveal that the number of temporary staff hired in the UK rose by 13% in January, contra the forebodings of several prominent commentators who had predicted a mass cull of temporary workers in the early New Year because of the Agency Workers Regulations.

The biggest increase in temp hiring took place in the manufacturing sector, which saw a 35% rise. Businesses services were the runners up with a rise of 33%. Increases were also seen in the care sector (19%) and construction (13%).

De Poel’s MD, John Salisbury, commented: “Our data indicates that the AWR has not directly impacted the use of temporary staff and that any changes are more related to the economic climate and specific industry trading patterns.”

Elsewhere, the REC and PCG are continuing their vigorous campaign to educate and inform employers about the AWR, which both organisations insist should not jeopardise highly skilled contractors working through umbrella companies.

Gillian Econopouly, Head of Policy at the REC, said: “The REC and PCG have always been in agreement that the AWR was never intended to apply to genuinely self-employed freelancers. We are united in making every effort to help freelancers, HR professionals and recruiters understand what this means for how they work.”

She added: “Recruiters, freelancers and hirers all want the same thing: a healthy, vibrant contractor community which is not affected by these regulations, which were designed to protect workers at the other end of the job market.”

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