Agency Workers Directive to add 10% to cost of filling short-term vacancies

One in two recruitment agencies believes the Agency Workers Directive will add 10% to the cost of filling a temporary vacancy.

The Agency Workers Directive was passed by the European Parliament last month – giving temporary workers in the UK equal rights to permanent staff after 12 weeks with an employer.

But a survey of 300 recruiters by industry body the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found 48% thought it would bump of the cost of temps by a tenth.

Elsewhere, 57% said the average assignment went beyond 12 weeks, quashing theories that it would not have much practical impact, while one in four thought identifying equal pay would be relatively straightforward, while 35% said their clients would struggle to identify a comparable worker.

Two-thirds of respondents said the legislation would expose them to a greater risk of being taken to an employment tribunal. And four in 10 respondents though extra costs would be incurred by consultants being diverted from making placements to chase up equal pay information.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC said: “Temporary work provides a vital route for people looking to get back into work, and for businesses that need a flexible workforce, so it is vital that UK implementation of the directive is both practical and workable for employers and recruiters – and that it doesn’t jeopardise job opportunities at such a crucial time.

“Our research shows that while recruiters are keen to make it work, there are some legitimate concerns over how it will be implemented in practice and how it will affect the use of agency workers in the long term,” he added.

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