Agency Worker Directive coalition sets out how UK could implement EU edict

A coalition of employergroups, unions and legal experts has presented recommendations to the government on how to best implement the controversial Agency Workers Directive (AWD).

The Agency Work Commission made up of representatives from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, CBI, TUC and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) – gave its final report to employment relations minister Pat McFadden last week.

The report details a series of recommendations on how the AWD – designed to give equal workplace rights between temp and permanent employees – can be brought into UK law at minimum disruption to employers.

These include limiting the scope of equal treatment between agency and permanent staff to basic salary and other basic statutory rights and making it easy for employers to establish the principle of equal treatment within an organisation.

“Trying to apply bonuses, gym membership or free lunches to someone only employed for 13 weeks will be impossible to administer for HR departments and recruitment agencies,” said Kevin Green, commission chair and REC chief executive.

Green said the minister was won over by the case made by previously divided representative groups. “It’s quite unique that we all came together to offer recommendations on a piece of legislation when it easily could have gone the other way,” he told Personnel Today.

“It could have been quite fractious between employers and agencies and unions, but [McFadden] was delighted with the various organisations coming together and speaking with one voice.”

The government begins its first of two consultations on the directive next month. It must be incorporated into UK law by December 2011 at the latest.

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