One of the hot topics last year in employment law was the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) which came into force on 1 October 2011. The AWR set up a new regulatory framework for agency workers to have access to facilities and information about job vacancies at the place of their temporary assignment (these are called ‘Day 1 rights’) and also rights to equal pay and other basic working conditions as comparable permanent employees after a 12 week qualifying period.
To date, we are not aware of any Employment Tribunal claims under the AWR. It may be that some are filtering through the system so watch this space.
The implementation of the AWR was much hyped so the subsequent quietness in this area has been an anticlimax to many professionals and employers alike. There are differing opinions on whether the AWR has had any effect on the use of agency workers in businesses. The CBI has said that the AWR is “a drag on job creation” and their research said that 57% of firms that utilised agency workers have reduced their use as a result of the regulations, 3% have increased their use, while 8% have stopped using agency workers all together. Others indicate that the AWR has had little impact.
We can only speculate on the reasons behind the lack of cases – perhaps agency workers are benefitting from their increased rights and are receiving what they are entitled to under the AWR or companies are hiring agency workers less because of the difficult economic times. We suspect it is a combination of many factors. Whilst things remain quiet the Government is unlikely to address the concerns many businesses had about the drafting of the regulations themselves and the financial impact of the AWR unless there is continuing pressure to do so.
So, a hot topic becomes rather cooler in reality one year on. We hope we will be saying the same in the future about the current march of employment law reforms!
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team on 01243 836840 or [email protected].