Bosses have been warned to be ready for “the biggest-ever shake-up of rights for temporary workers”, or risk heavy fines.
Conciliation service Acas has told employers that falling foul of the Agency Workers Regulations could result in a fine of £5,000 at an employment tribunal, which would be multiplied if more than one temporary worker at the organisation is found to have received unequal treatment under the Regulations.
The Agency Workers Regulations will give temporary workers the right to the same basic employment conditions as direct recruits after 12 weeks in the role.
They will also be entitled to the same access to job vacancies as permanent members of staff and collective facilities such as staff canteens, childcare facilities and transport services, from the first day of their assignment.
And with recent statistics from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation finding that demand for temporary workers is expected to remain strong after the Regulations come into force, a high proportion of employers is likely to be affected by the changes.
John Taylor, Acas chief executive, warned: “Businesses really need to make sure that they have a handle on these changes. It’s not something to think about down the line and get it wrong, as it can be costly to your business.
“Some employers may try to get round the Regulations by hiring and rehiring temps on a succession of shorter periods. But they need to be careful of the many provisos within the new law. We would always advise employers to take a fair approach as the basis for any workplace relations.”
Additional information on the Regulations can be found in our guide: Five things employers need to know about the Agency Workers Regulations.