UK Businesses Remain Largely Unaware of New Rules for Temporary Agency Workers

17th June 2011

Starting on 1 October, a new rule will go into effect in the United Kingdom regarding the employment of temporary workers hired through recruitment agencies. Specifically, under this rule temporary workers employed through an agency who are on the same temporary jobs for more than 12 weeks at a particular company must be provided with all the rights, benefits, and working conditions provided by that company to its regular employees.

This new rule represents a sea change in the United Kingdom workforce, which is composed of temporary agency workers at roughly double the European average. Specifically, the costs of using long-term temporary workers are expected to rise significantly, sending shock waves through the recruitment industry and employers who regularly use it. However, a survey by one recruiting agency found that approximately forty per cent of businesses had not begun to plan to adapt to the new rule. It is feared that many businesses will be caught off-guard by the additional costs of providing benefits to long-term temps, as well as any legal proceedings that may result for failure to comply.

This new rule on temporary agency careers was promulgated in order to comply with an earlier directive set out by the European Union.