Recruiters have been quick to dispute findings from a recent survey of 319 UK firms by the CBI and IT recruitment specialists Harvey Nash, which suggested that the AWR was having a baleful effect on the temporary jobs market.

Contractors working through umbrella companies tend to depend upon the availability of temporary contracts, so the survey may have sent jitters around the contracting community. Recruiters say that, although the AWR is having an effect, it is not nearly as bad as the survey suggests.

For example, the survey claimed that 8% of the employers polled had stopped using agency workers altogether, a finding which prompted Pete Taylor, a senior figure from Encore Personnel, to say: “I don’t know of any of the 300 companies in my business area that have stopped using temps because of AWR.”

The reduction, Mr Taylor insists, is “nowhere near” the 57% recorded in the survey. According to Jeanette Barrowcliffe of Meridian Business Support, while AWR is curtailing the use of temporary agency staff to some extent, its effects are sector-dependent. Some employers are requesting shorter assignments, however, a move that seems aimed at dodging the 12-week equal treatment entitlement.

Tom Hadley, the REC’s Director of Policy and Professional Services said that the findings did not reflect the results of REC’s recent Report on Jobs, which recorded only a ‘small blip’ in employer confidence over using temporary staff. In France, he added, there was also a blip but this has now been rectified as employers get used to the regulations.

PAYE umbrella contractors, it would seem, have little to fear.

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