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Agency Workers Regulations: ARC suggests a more pragmatic approach

Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) and their impact on contractors and recruiters remain unclear, causing concerns and uncertainty to all involved.

Now the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) has written to the Ministry of Justice, recommending measures to streamline the AWR. It says its measures would cut the costs of the inevitable Employment Tribunals that will arise as workers bring cases against end-user clients and employers when the regulations come into force.

ARC’s proposal is to simplify the rules by making only the hirer and the party that supplies the worker liable for any worker claims. ARC Executive Committee member and Lawspeed Managing Director, Adrian Marlowe, believes this approach could significantly reduce the admin burden faced by the Employment Tribunal Service, as the pay and conditions of the worker making the claim could be simply compared against the hirer’s published pay rates and conditions.

“If [ARC’s] suggestion were to be followed, not only would it simplify matters for agency workers and thus reduce the number of claims, but also would reduce the work and associated cost for the Employment Tribunal Service, employers and agencies alike,” says Marlowe. “This would be entirely in line with stated coalition policy and we are urging the government to adopt this approach.

“Since January of this year we have expressed various concerns about the regulations as they currently stand. There are all sorts of aspects that create unnecessary difficulties for parties involved in the agency worker supply chain and we are hoping to persuade the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to look at this again.”

Since January of this year we have expressed various concerns about the regulations as they currently stand

Adrian Marlowe, ARC

The AWR was introduced to protect vulnerable agency workers by ensuring equal pay and conditions with permanent employees, but many highly skilled contractors may find themselves caught by the legislation, resulting in potentially higher costs for clients.

Contractors wanting to understand the full implications of the Agency Workers Regulations on their livelihoods are likely to be frustrated that the official word from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) remains that the Government “is currently considering the issue.”

Published: 09 September 2010

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