It is over 100 days since the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) came into force. Providing ongoing support to members and monitoring the impact will be key priorities for the REC in 2012. The latest feedback from recruiters confirms that helping employers understand and a[[roach the regulations remains a major priority.
Although overall awareness has increased, a number of employers still have limited understanding of what the regulations mean in practice. This underlines the need to continue raising awareness. A number of agencies have confirmed that discussions with other clients have focused more on the commercial rather then legal implications which reinforce the need to have robust contracts in place.
One major challenge is the percentage amongst some employers that the AWR negates the value of using agency staff, an assumption the REC continues to counter through ongoing dialogue with employers and business organisations.
Tom Hadley, Director of POlicy and Professional Services says:
“The response from some of the client organisations – luckily, a small minority – is that with AWR now in place, why should we still use temporary staff? The question in most sectors should actually be with AWR in place, is there any reason why we shouldnt be using temporary staff?
The regulations have created significant administration and implementation challenges for agencies. However, they do not fundamentally impact on the benefits that flexible staffing provides. Even in sectors where there is a direct impact on costs for end-users, this is a cost worth bearing if it ensures that the right staff are in place at the right time.
Over the last 18 months, we have spoken to over 2000 employers at client events and HR seminars, dealing with significant misconceptions about the regulations. These have been driven by a general perception that the impact will be dramatic in all sectors but after employers look at the detail of the regulations, many of these fears have often proved unfounded.
However, employer perceptions can become reality which is why we need to remain on the front foot in actively promoting the benefits of flexible staffing through the ongoing client agenda as well as through robust data and the work of the forthcoming Flexible Work Commission.”