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Employers advised to prepare for new agency worker rules

Employers are being offered advice on how best to deal with the new temporary worker regulations that are due to come into force next year.

Under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, which take legal effect as from 1 October 2011, the basic employment terms and conditions of agency workers, once they have worked a qualifying period of 12 weeks, must be no less favourable than those that would apply if they had been recruited directly.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has offered employers a practical, useful guide to how the new rules will apply.

Mike Emmott, the CIPD's public policy adviser, commented: "Many employers are already reviewing their recruitment strategies so as to take account of the impact of the Agency Workers Regulations."

Mr Emmott said that some employers will carry on using temporary staff supplied by agencies for periods of less than 12 weeks, but will stop using agencies for longer-term assignments. Others will stop using agencies to recruit temporary workers and take staff directly onto their own books instead.

However, the CIPD believe that employers should come to a good understanding of how the regulations will actually work before making any decisions.

Mr Emmott added: "Agency working makes a significant contribution to the UK's flexible labour market and it would be damaging if employers were to make decisions about their recruitment strategies based on misunderstandings around the scale of the impact the regulations are likely to have on their business, or stories about 'gold-plating'.

"Employers should feel reassured that the regulations will not present an unmanageable obstacle to their continued use of agency temps."

The CIPD guide is available at http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/emplaw/tacofemp/_equal-treatment-agency-workers.htm