Agency worker benefits under AWD must be made clear for employers

The specific benefits that agency workers are entitled to under the Agency Workers Directive (AWD) must be made clear so as not to heap confusion and extra administration onto employers, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has said.

The government has announced an eight-week consultation on draft regulations, with the implementation date pushed back to October 2011.

Under the draft AWD regulations, agency workers will be able to access certain company benefits beyond basic pay after 12 weeks of service, which the REC claimed will cause extra work for companies that will need to align their benefits offering with temps’ length of service.

Tom Hadley, director of external relations, said: “Problems would arise if the definition of pay for the purposes of the directive is anything other than pay, such as the wider benefit packages. This will create a huge amount of administration concern because companies will have to pro-rata their benefits.”

The REC has also made it clear that the government must clarify the law around bonus schemes and whether agency workers would be entitled to benefit.

The regulations state: “We propose that the definition of pay, for the purposes of our implementation, should be basic pay unless other contractual entitlements directly linked to the work undertaken by the agency worker whilst on an assignment.

“This would include payment for overtime, shift allowances, unsocial hours, premiums/bonuses, and some bonuses where they relate directly to personal and individual performance (such as piece-work bonuses) but exclude aspects of remuneration that are provided in recognition of the long-term relationship between employer and permanent employee such as profit sharing schemes.”

Hadley added: “Bonuses that are linked to company-wide performances would blur the line between temporary and permanent staff. Anything that you can calculate on a daily or weekly basis could have some implications, but if they are related to company-wide benefits it would be completely unworkable.”

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