Call to amend draft EU temps directive

Employers’ groups are calling for the service qualification for rights under
the EU draft directive on temporary workers to be extended from six weeks to 18

Both the EEF and the CBI have said workers should have to wait a year and a
half before they become entitled to compare their pay and benefits with
comparable permanent employees.

"A six-week qualifying period… would only help firms covering
holidays and would remove flexibility for employers covering for vacancies and
maternity leave, for example," said John Cridland, deputy director general
of the CBI.

The Department for Trade and Industry is lobbying Brussels for a 12-month
threshold. The qualifying period is likely to become a key bargaining counter
in diluting the directive, which could be adopted by next year.

Not everyone in the HR profession would press for such a long period,
however. Martin Hinchcliffe, HR director at Welcome Break, said: "I think
the period of qualification is too short. I would be happier if this was

TUC general secretary John Monks said the directive was necessary to prevent
employers sacking permanent staff and re-employing them on inferior terms and
conditions through agencies. He said only one third of agency workers have been
with their current "employer" for less than three months.

The proposals

 Temporary staff will be entitled to compare their pay and conditions
with permanent colleagues after six weeks

– Employers will have to show objective justification for less
favourable treatment of temps

– Employers will have to negotiate separate sets of pay and
benefits for every temp post

– Temps will have to be informed of permanent jobs in the
employer’s business

– Agencies will not be able to include clauses preventing
employers offering permanent jobs to temps

– Temporary workers will be included in the count of workers
who are to be included for trade union recognition purposes

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