PAYE umbrella contractors concerned about the potential impact of the Agency Workers Regulations on their future prospects may be encouraged by recent remarks from the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, who has announced that the Government will review the administrative effects of the regulations within the next 18 months.

During the course of a speech in which he also announced a review of the Conduct Regulations, Dr Cable said “…flexible labour markets are an essential component of a successful economy. It’s essential they function in a way that employers have the confidence to take on new workers, create new jobs, so people out of work can get that first foot in the labour market.”

The review, however, will be limited to assessing the bureaucracy, paperwork and reporting burdens generated by the EU directive.

Gillian Econopouly, the Head of Policy at the REC, nonetheless welcomed Dr Cable’s comments, saying “Our conversation with BIS officials made it clear that this will not be a review of the overall regulations. However, the commitment to identify and address unnecessary bureaucracy around AWR implementation is good news and something the REC has been calling for. We have agreed to provide Government with regular member feedback, starting with our first post-AWR meeting with BIS next week.”

As we reported recently, some leading experts, such as James Carmody of Reculver Solicitors, are doubtful that the regulations will prove to have a negative impact on skilled flexible workers, such as contractors working through umbrella companies, although less skilled temporary agency workers may find that their assignments will be reduced in length.

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