Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Fairer Deal For Agency Workers

Fairer Deal For Agency Workers

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 15 October 2009

The Government set out its plans today to give Britain’s 1.3million agency workers a fairer deal in the workplace.

As agreed last year by the TUC and CBI, the changes will give agency workers the right to the same pay, holidays and basic conditions as permanent staff after 12 weeks on a given job.

Publishing a consultation on draft regulations to implement the EU Agency Workers Directive, Business Minister Pat McFadden said:

“Last year the Government secured a deal in Europe on the Agency Workers Directive that allows us to base Britain's rules on the agreement reached in the UK between the CBI and TUC.

“This allows us to implement the Directive in this country in a way which gives fair treatment to agency workers and maintains labour market flexibility. It was only possible because the Government is engaged in the mainstream of Europe – actively influencing proposals coming from Europe which affect the UK economy and UK workers. Careful and sometimes difficult negotiations were required to get the CBI-TUC agreement reflected in the final EU Directive.

“As the Prime Minister has said, the Government is committed to getting this legislation on the Statute Book by the end of this Parliament. The law will come into force in the UK in October 2011, giving recruiters and their clients time to prepare and plan. We are also mindful of the need to avoid changing requirements on business until the economic recovery is more firmly established.”

The consultation on draft regulation launched today sets out detailed proposals for implementation in the UK of the EU’s Agency Workers Directive and will run until 11 December 2009. It follows a wide ranging policy consultation that took place earlier in the year.

For the first time agency workers will be entitled to equal treatment on basic working and employment conditions, including pay and holidays, as if they had been recruited directly by the hirer after 12 weeks in a given job.

Other benefits that agency workers will gain from the first day of their assignment include:

· information about vacancies in the hirer to give them the same opportunity as other workers to find permanent employment

· equal access to on-site facilities such as child care and transport services

· improved rights to protect the health and safety of new and expectant mothers including right to reasonable time off to attend ante-natal appointments and adjustments to working conditions and working hours

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.

Contacts:

BIS Press Office
NDS.BIS@coi.gsi.gov.uk

Joe Upton
Phone: 020 7215 5959
Joe.Upton@bis.gsi.gov.uk

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