EU push to give temps equality from day one

Temporary staff will be entitled to the same pay and conditions as permanent
employees from day one, if proposals by the official responsible for driving
the controversial EU agency workers directive are agreed.

MEP Ieke van den Burg wants to remove the qualifying period for the
legislation, which currently means agency staff would only be entitled to equal
pay once they have been working for an employer for at least six weeks.

"Since the vast majority of temporary placements are for weeks rather
than months, the core group would be excluded. That is illogical and
unacceptable," said Van den Burg whose comments are published in full in
the 29 April issue of IRS Employment Review.

The directive, which is due to be considered by the European Parliament and
the Council of Ministers, could become law in the UK by this time next year.

UK employers, who believe the draft directive will create a red tape
headache for HR and increase business costs, are concerned about Van den Burg’s
plan to remove the qualification period.

David Yeandle, deputy director of employment policy for the Engineering
Employers Federation, wants the qualification period extended to 18 months and
is annoyed that there are plans to remove this completely.

"Six weeks would affect an awful lot of employers, but if there was no
qualification period at all the directive would create a much bigger
problem."

The CIPD is also opposed to the proposed changes to the directive which it
believes will make it even more expensive and bureaucratic for employers to
employ temporary staff.

By Ben Willmott

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