Highly skilled freelancers on agency payroll, such as the UK’s PAYE umbrella contractors, will not be adversely affected by the implementation of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) on 1st October, according to findings from the REC’s latest JobsOutlook.

The survey found that many employers – 42% of those polled – are not planning to make any significant change to their use of agency workers and that the demand for flexible working will continue. A much smaller proportion (14%) reported that they will definitely be making changes as a result of AWR, although these include offering higher rates of pay for some staff.

Around a quarter of the employers planning to make changes say that they will consider reducing their use of temporary staff, but the REC data also shows that, overall, the number of employers planning to maintain or increase their use of agency payroll workers has grown from 80% last month to 83% this month.

The REC’s Director of Policy and Professional Services, Tom Hadley, said “The data on general hiring intentions is encouraging. Although some employers may see reducing agency use as an obvious short term option, the need for flexible staffing arrangements will outweigh concerns over the AWR in most sectors.”

He went on to say that, despite some alarmist stories in the media, the latest JobsOutlook data suggests that AWR “will be workable in most sectors.” The REC, he added, will make a final “concerted push” to help those employers who remain uncertain about the impact of AWR on their businesses to understand the EU directive’s effects more clearly.

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