Jobbing PAYE umbrella contractors may be interested in the latest REC snapshot of the emerging impact of the Agency Workers Regulations.

The main conclusion of the REC’s ongoing feedback from recruiters across the UK is that some sectors are being more significantly affected than others but, overall, the effects have by no means been disastrous. The evidence from successive REC/KPMG Reports on Jobs, however, suggests that, overall, temporary billings have shown a “slight but sustained contraction over recent months.”

The status of contractors who work through limited companies has posed particular challenges over the last month, along with the practicalities of the Pay Between Assignments (PBA) model, REC member feedback suggests, but there is better news for the future.

The latest REC JobsOutlook report, which polls the hiring intentions of 500 UK employers, reveals that plans to recruit temporary staff over the next three months remain robust. 81% of employers intend to so do so, which should bring some degree of comfort to contractors in search of new assignments. There has also been a rise in the number of employers intending to hire agency staff in the longer term.

One key development in the post-AWR world is that recruitment agencies have to adjust to employing temporary staff under the PBA model mentioned earlier. This is a development that carries a fair amount of administrative baggage with it, including procedures for performance management, absence and disciplinary issues; however, most appear to be making these changes reasonably smoothly.

The REC is compiling an impact assessment report in conjunction with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), which should be released within the next month.

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