With 71 per cent of employers saying they would be damaged by the EU draft Agency Workers Directive, Ben Willmott analyses our exclusive research
This month the European Parliament will vote on the Agency Workers Directive, which seeks to provide temporary staff with the same pay and conditions as permanent staff.
Personnel Today and Manpower's recent survey of almost 1,000 employers revealed that the majority are opposed to the directive.
Under the directive as drafted, agency workers would receive equal rights as permanent staff after they have been employed for six weeks.
The research shows that more than 70 per cent of organisations think it will damage their businesses through increased red tape and employment costs.
The study finds that agency staff in the UK are already well rewarded for their efforts, with 45 per cent of firms revealing they pay their agency staff the same as permanent staff and 23 per cent paying temps more than their permanent employees.
Ruth Hounslow, director of public affairs for Manpower, said the survey shows that temporary staff are not treated as second class employees.
"The fact that 68 per cent of employers are already paying their agency staff as well as or better than permanent staff shows how highly they value their flexible workforce," she said.
Only just over a quarter of respondents pay their agency staff less than the rest of their workers.
However, the research reveals that agency staff are not so well rewarded in terms of the benefits.
Half of the employers surveyed do not provide their temps with holiday pay, while only 20 per cent of respondents provide agency staff with maternity leave, 12 per cent paternity leave and 10 per cent pension provision.
Hounslow said Manpower offers its temps generous benefits such as maternity pay and life insurance, but admits that many agencies need to do more in this area.
Length of assignment
The study finds that more than half of employers typically use temps for longer than six weeks at a time and so would be hit by the draft agency workers directive. As many as one million temps are available for work each day in the UK, according to REC figures.
A quarter of organisations use agency staff for periods of between six weeks and three months, 14 per cent of firms us