Recent news had suggested that the coalition government were planning to amend the contentious Agency Workers Regulations and they were in talks with the CBI and TUC in this regard. However, these talks have broken down and the government will now push ahead with the implementation of this legislation in its current form.
It is believed that one of the hurdles facing the government was the legalities involved in making amendments to the regulations, particularly within the short time-scales, as the AWR must become law by October 2011.
Confirming that the law is to go ahead in its present form, Edward Davy, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills minister issued a statement to Parliament. He cited the need for the 12-week qualifying period to be protected against possible legal challenges. Employers will, in the coming months, be in receipt of the guidance notes pertaining to this law which are now to be drafted.
Responding to this news, chief executive of APSCo, Ann Swain, commented: Ann Swain, Chief Executive of the agency body, APSCo said: “It was always very unlikely that amendments to the Regulations could have been made at this stage. This is why APSCo has been concentrating on the guidance notes.”
She continued: “We have been asked by BIS to help draft the guidance notes. The guidance will help recruiters interpret how they should be implementing the Regulations. The wording of the guidance will have a massive bearing on how easy it is for recruiters to ensure they comply fully with the AWR. Whilst it is disappointing that the Government has not looked at areas like the definition of pay, at least a lot of the uncertainty surrounding the Regulations has now been removed. We can now push on to make sure the Regulations are fully understood. The drafting of the guidance was completely stalled as we awaited this announcement.
Ms Swain concluded: “It’s heartening that BIS is at least sympathetic to many of the concerns raised by APSCo and other stakeholders. The statement does at least give us some indication of where the Coalition stands on employment-related regulation. There is still no need to panic just yet. Recruiters and end users won’t be able to get their internal processes in order until the guidance notes have been published. Spending time at this stage worrying about compliance with the Regulations is premature.”