The Agency Workers Directive (AWD) will be enforced in the UK from 1st October 2011. The main purpose of the Directive is to ensure the equal treatment and protection of temporary agency workers in terms of basic working and employment conditions which are pay, working hours, overtime, rest periods, holidays, training, access to shared facilities and internal job vacancies.
Equal treatment does not include the provision of a pension, occupational sick pay, redundancy pay, bonuses intended to reward longevity of service or loyalty and will not include any changes to the employment status of the temporary agency worker. An essential part of the Directive is that equal treatment rights will not come into effect until the temporary agency worker has been in an assignment for 12 weeks.
The implementation of the AWD will have major implications on the cost and use of agency workers. Yet research has suggested that approximately 60% of HR professionals are unaware that the Directive will be in place in less than 12 months.
This is a significant piece of legislation that carries severe consequences for non-compliance; getting it wrong could result in serious financial and legal ramifications. It is therefore essential for companies to start getting to grips with the potential areas of impact. Below are a few key questions and areas companies can be focusing on in anticipation of the Directive: