The Agency Workers Directive has been passed by the European Parliament – giving temporary workers in the UK equal rights to permanent staff after 12 weeks with an employer.
The UK secured this 12-week qualifying period due to the deal previously struck by the CBI and the TUC. All other member states have to give equal rights to temps from their first day – unless they reach such an agreement domestically.
Trade unions welcomed the news. Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Too many agency workers in the UK have faced unfair treatment and injustice.
“Now agency workers will now finally have a fair deal and be entitled to the same pay as permanent staff doing the same job, and receive much stronger legal protection from exploitation.”
Under the law passed today, the UK’s estimated 1.3 million agency workers will get the same pay and basic working conditions as permanent staff after being employed for 12 weeks.
In May, the CBI said that the deal struck with the CBI was the “least worst” option for employers. It is not yet clear when this law would come into force in the UK.
In this clip (left), Jon Fisher, employment lawyer with Pinsent Masons, is not surprised new agency workers rights were given the all clear but says employers will be very concerned if the working time opt-out is lost.