European ministers thrash out agency workers and working time deal

European employment ministers are attempting to thrash out deals on agency workers and working time at a meeting in Luxembourg.

Ministers on the EU Employment Council are hoping to cement a deal on the thorny issues and bring to an end years of wrangling at European level.

Last month the UK government, CBI and TUC struck an agreement on the rights of agency workers. The deal differs from the EU proposal in that it only grants agency workers equal treatment to that of permanent workers after 12 weeks working with the same company. The EU proposes a qualifying period of just six weeks.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, which represents recruitment agencies, called on the government to fight over every last detail during the negotiations.

“The recent deal between the CBI and the TUC is an absolute ‘bottom-line’ and any more damaging measures will be resisted at all costs,” he said.

“It is crunch-time for the government in terms of ensuring that we have a directive that is workable for agencies and employers and does not impact on the opportunities that flexible employment provides to millions of workers each year.”

An agreement on reformed working time rules will also be discussed. The UK currently has an opt-out of the 48 hours a week limit.

In this clip employment lawyer Philip Titchmarsh, partner at Pinsent Masons, explains that given that we face the possibility of an extension to flexible working rights employers who already consider requests from all employees are best placed if the law does change, and those who don’t should think about changing their policy.



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