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Annie Hayes

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Employers divided on rights of agency workers

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A new study shows continued division on the principle of equal rights for temporary agency workers and qualifying periods.

Friday 22 February sees the second reading of the Parliamentary private members bill seeking to give agency workers the same employment rights as permanent employees, with possible agreement on the stalled EU Temporary Agency Workers Directive on the horizon.

Testing the waters, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and KPMG has produced a joint survey of more than 1,500 employers. According to their findings, more than one in four employers responding to the survey are of the opinion that agency workers should never qualify for the same rights as permanent employees, whilst one in five think that agency workers should be given the same ‘pay and contract of employment’ conditions from the first day of employment with a given employer.

In all, 35 per cent think this should apply within the first six months of employment, while a further third prefer a qualifying period of at least six months.

Almost half of responding employers think the Agency Workers Directive would make the process of hiring agency temps more bureaucratic, while 61 per cent think it will increase labour costs.

Well over a third of employers think the Directive would have a negative impact on their organisation, with 39 per cent saying it would have an effect on recruitment.

Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser, CIPD commented: “Our latest survey findings suggest that a qualifying period of at least six months is necessary to command the support of employers. However, with over a third of employers believing the agency workers directive will have a negative impact, the proposed independent commission will need to work hard to consider the risks associated with this policy if it is to allay employer concerns.”

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Annie Hayes

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